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Cable TV Revenue to Drop by $2.7 Billion in Next 10 Years as Broadband Booms

The triple threat to the pay-TV biz — cord-cutters, cord-shavers and cord-nevers — will drive down U.S. cable operators’ video revenue 4.7% by 2026, even as monthly cable TV bills will continue to climb, according to a new forecast from SNL Kagan.

Total residential video revenue for Comcast, Charter Communications and other American cable operators is projected to fall from $57.7 billion in 2016 to $55.0 billion annually in 2026, declining at a compound annual growth rate of 0.5% over the next 10 years, according to SNL Kagan. That’s as basic video subscriptions are projected to drop from about 53 million today to 45.4 million by 2026.

But don’t weep for the nation’s cable guys — thanks to 13% rise in broadband subs, they’ll rake in more than $11 billion in additional cash from residential broadband over the same time frame. And, on an operating basis, broadband is far more profitable than TV.

SNL Kagan expects U.S. cable broadband subs to increase by more than 8 million in the next 10 years, to reach 71 million by 2026. That will drive up revenue for the segment from $35.5 billion this year to $47.3 billion.

“Despite ongoing declines in video, the next 10 years look pretty good for this sector,” said SNL Kagan’s Tony Lenoir and Ian Olgeirson, the authors of the report.

The research firm forecasts price hikes for cable TV and broadband, while phone service will drop. On a monthly basis, cable video revenue per sub will climb from $90.84 to $100.02 between 2016 and 2026; cable broadband residential revenue will increase from $51.23 to $60.99 per customer. Cable’s residential phone service revenue will decline from $26.90 to $21.40 monthly per sub over the 10-year span, per SNL Kagan.

In a separate report, SNL Kagan this week estimated that the total U.S. pay-TV sector lost 812,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2016, a year-over-year decline of about 1.4 million (down 1.4%). Currently, residential pay-TV penetration is 78.6% of all U.S. households — an all-time low.

Overall, cable operators’ residential revenues are projected to increase from $108.4 billion in 2016 to $117.7 billion in 2026, as broadband offsets declines in both TV and phone service. Commercial services will help push total industry revenue from $130.6 billion in 2016 to $141.0 billion in 2016, an increase of $10.4 billion.

Meanwhile, despite a decline in net subscribers, net advertising revenue is expected to grow at a 4.3% CAGR through 2026 to reach $6.3 billion.

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