Cable Company iPad Apps Are Killing It

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Today’s Time Warner Cable earnings call revealed that its iPad app was downloaded 360,000 times during its first month of availability. Cablevision revealed that it saw 50,000 downloads in the first five days of app availability, and when contacted by GigaOM, Comcast shared that its Xfinity TV app has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times since its launch in November.

What’s the message? Cable subscribers are highly amenable to the idea of accessing content on their iPads. Even Cablevision’s 50,000 downloads only represents the first five days, and it has a much smaller total of 3 million subscribers, versus 12 million for Time Warner Cable. Comcast had 22.8 million subscribers at last count, so it makes sense that it has the largest pool of potential users to draw from.

It’s also worth noting that Time Warner Cable lost only 65,000 subscribers this past quarter (and even gained subscribers in March, according to the Time Warner Cable CFO Robert Marcus), while it lost 155,000 during the quarter before that, and 141,000 two quarters ago. It’s probably too early to infer that the iPad app is the reason behind the decrease in subscriber bleed. But it’s worth considering that the iPad is a significant variable that’s been introduced only recently, and if these download numbers are any indication, it definitely seems to be a hit among cable subscribers.

Maybe cable companies can use these numbers to convince content providers to go easier when it comes to license requirements. Time Warner Cable is putting more time and money behind the app, too. There are now 70 channels available, whereas the product launched with 30. The company also said it plans on updating the app with ongoing improvements, including two-way communication with smart TV devices, and the ability to act as a remote and program DVRs from a distance.

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