Comcast’s future: singles, not home runs


Comcast has learned its lesson, and instead of trying to slug its way to the top the company is slowly accumulating the programming assets it needs and at the same time is adding more heft to its basic cable operation, according to The Sunday New York Times. Brian Roberts is thinking about making a play for the Adelphia Communications , the nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, which is expected to emerge from bankruptcy protection in the coming months, The Times say. He wants to sell off large stakes in Time Warner Cable and a score of other small players, and net around $10 billion. That money could be used to make a play for MGM and other content companies that would help boost Comcast’s “video-on-demand” business.

The media assets are a way to fight off the satellite carriers and phone companies who are undercutting the cable guys on prices.

Combined, all of the regional Bell companies signed up more new customers than the cable industry did in the second quarter. At the same time, phone companies are cutting the prices for D.S.L., their high-speed Internet service, forcing Comcast to offer promotional deals. Comcast also butts heads with the phone companies by selling conventional telephone service, but revenue from that business fell 13.8 percent in the second quarter as the number of subscribers declined 10.4 percent, to 1.2 million. The company plans to introduce a potentially cheaper Internet-based phone service to better compete with the regional Bells, but not for at least another year. Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, by contrast, have already introduced it.

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