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CommScope Lays Off Around 160 From Struggling Pay TV Set-top Manufacturing Unit

CommScope has laid off approximately 160 employees across its Home Networks division, as sales of one of the unit’s primary products, pay TV set-tops, decline.

Chatter among current and former CommScope employees on TheLayoff indicates that CommScope’s entire video customer premises equipment (CPE) staff based Horsham, Pennsylvania has been let go. Layoffs among CommScope Home Networks employees in San Diego have also occurred, according to message board postings.

"CommScope continuously monitors evolving marketplace conditions as a matter of business practice,” the Hickory, N.C.-based CommScope said in a statement emailed to MCN Tuesday. “We review our entire business to make our organization lean and agile, and to leverage global growth opportunities. Across the industry, there has been a significant decline in service provider investment in video programs, as the result of continued reduction in PayTV subscriptions, increased competition from over-the-top services, and the transition to lower-cost video devices.”

CommScope, Technicolor and other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) servicing the pay TV set-top business are under pressure from video cord cutting affecting their cable, satellite and telco operator clients. These customers lost more than 5 million linear TV subscribers in 2019.

Concurrently, the days of the multi-tuner, multi-gigabyte DVR set-top are on the wane.

With what remains of their video businesses, CommScope’s operator clients are moving to OTT-centric models that utilize, in many cases, consumer grade video streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Proprietary set-tops, meanwhile, have in other instances been reduced to thin-client devices running Android TV middleware.

CommScope got into the video CPE business in 2018 with its $7.4 billion purchase of Arris.

“Home network space is a significant challenge this year as operators and carriers continue to deal with material subscriber losses,” noted CommScope CFO Alexander Pease in February, projecting a 20% sales decline for Home Networks sales in 2020.

“We are taking steps to reduce our current workforce in our Home Networks segment to instill greater efficiency, cost-competitiveness and focused innovation in areas with long-term growth opportunity,” CommScope added in its statement. "We plan to lead in the transformation of the digitally connected home, leveraging our core skills in systems, software, and hardware to create and connect a device ecosystem that enables new services and solutions, transformational consumer experiences, and profitable new business models. We are committed to positioning Home Networks to be a healthy, competitive business moving forward."