MediaFile

Telcos are winning the cable TV battle but are they losing the broadband war?

War scene

The latest quarterly numbers from AT&T and Verizon Communications points to steady addition of TV customers which they are very likely winning from the cable companies as well as satellite players. AT&T said it posted its first ever billion-dollar revenue quarter for its U-Verse services (which includes Internet).  It added 209,000 U-Verse TV subscribers and now has 2.5 million in total. Meanwhile Verizon said it added 174,000 FiOS TV subscribers and now has 3.2 million in total.

Together the telcos, wh0 only launched their competing services less than five years ago now have a more than 5 percent share of U.S. pay-TV homes.

So well done to the telcos! Or is that the whole story? Analysts at Bernstein Research point out that both phone companies lost a combined 65,000 Internet access subscribers (after netting out additions from U-verse/FiOS and losses of DSL customers).

This comes as Wall Street continues to expect cable companies to continue to grab market share in broadband subscribers even as they lose basic cable TV subscribers. After looking at the telcos’ numbers this week, Collins Stewart analyst Thomas Eagan more than doubled his expectations for cable’s share of broadband additions when they report over the next fortnight in a short analyst note.

“We had expected that the cable operators would take 43% share of the broadband adds in 2Q10. It appears now, however, that the cable operators might take more than 90% of the broadband net adds.”

AOL’s Tim Armstrong’s more worried about Main St than Wall St

AOL’s recently appointed chief executive, Tim Armstrong, has only been in place for three weeks but Wall Street is waiting impatiently for his next move. He’s started to shake up the ad team. Investors are focused on when parent company Time Warner will spin off the Internet unit, which has lost favor with Wall Street, advertisers and users alike.

Armstrong, gave his first interview since starting on April 1 to Ad Age Editor Jonah Bloom at the 4A’s advertising conference in San Francisco. Though he has declined doing interviews since he joined, AOL’s communications people said Armstrong was keeping a commitment he’d made while he still at Google.

The three-part interview can be seen at Ad Age here. The fireside chat covered topics like AOL’s branding, AOL’s undervalued ad space, and how Armstrong had to leave Google by the tradesman’s entrance on his last day.

A Yahoo and Microsoft deal? Search me

Two days ago, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Yahoo should team up with his company on search so they can take on Google. That’s not a new idea; after all, Ballmer’s been talking about a search deal of some sort at every public forum for months.

But then, Yahoo CFO Blake Jorgensen sent out a message loud and clear the following day, endorsing the idea of a search partnership. Yahoo is “not opposed” to doing a deal on search, he said, adding that such a deal could be in the form of a partnership or a sale of it search business. When Carol Bartz took over as Yahoo CEO last month, she said her first instinct was to hold on to search, but of course, “everything is on the table.”

So could something be brewing on that front?

Collins Stewart’s Internet analyst Sandeep Aggarwal thinks so. In a research note today, Aggarwal writes the “posturing” from both sides suggests that a search deal is in the offing:

Obama greenlights analog TV for another season

After all the excitement, endless public service announcement ads and electronics retailers salivating over anticipated high-definition TV sales, it turns out that the United States might not be switching to digital television just yet.

President-elect Barack Obama is backing a move to delay a mandatory switch to digital TV signals on Feb. 17 because viewers might not be prepared. Also, the government has run out of $40 coupons to help pay for converter boxes.

The idea that as many as 8 million homes (according to Nielsen data) might lose TV reception in a few weeks is not the kind of headache a new White House administration wants to deal with so it’s perhaps not surprising talk of a delay, possibly up to four months, is gathering support.