3 Telecom Stocks That Can’t Shake the Cord-Cutting Pain

Cord-cutting headwinds are only getting stronger and these telecom stocks have little to hold onto

Cord-cutting. We all know what is. Most of us have thought about it. Some of us have actually done it. And very few of us deny the fact that it’s a trend which is only picking up steam. And it’s a huge deal for telecom stocks.

Here’s a little history.

Back in 2011, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) split apart its DVD and streaming businesses in a move that was considered crazy at the time. It retrospect, it was a stroke of pure genius.

A year later, linear TV viewership peaked at 5 hours, 37 minutes per person. It has decreased at a steady high-single-digit pace ever since.

By 2016, the number of people who either never had linear TV or cancelled their linear TV subscription numbered 49.2 million. Today, that figure has grown by nearly 30% to 63.4 million. By 2021, it is expected to grow another near 30% to 81.1 million.

Clearly, the cord-cutting trend is only accelerating as consumers shift en masse from linear television consumption to internet television consumption.

That is a really bad thing for pay-TV providers. Some of these companies are doing okay because they have multi-faceted business models which offset pay-TV weakness. Others, however, haven’t been so fortunate.

With that in mind, here is a list of 3 telecom stocks that can’t shake the cord-cutting pain.

Telecom Stocks That Can’t Shake the Cord-Cutting Pain #1:

Source: Shutterstock

 Charter Communications Inc (CHTR)

Not too long ago, telecom giant Charter Communications Inc (NASDAQ:CHTR) dragged the whole industry down with earnings numbers that screamed ‘cord-cutting is here to stay’.

Charter reported net video losses of 112,000, a steep number for this company. Granted, the internet business added 362,000 subs in the quarter, and that helped offset video sub churn.

But growth in the internet business is slowing. In the year ago, the company added 428,000 subs. Meanwhile, losses in the video business are only widening. In the year ago, the company lost “only” 100,00 subs.

Thus, the trend isn’t good for this company. With video losses accelerating and internet gains slowing, Charter needs to do something drastic to save itself from revenue growth turning negative and margins compressing.

That something could be the company’s new streaming service, Spectrum TV Choice. Spectrum TV Choice could be the savior for this business, but the company requires Spectrum TV Choice subs to have an internet account with Spectrum. Thus, the addressable market is actually fairly limited.

All in all, Charter Communications is in a rough patch right now. Unfortunately, until Spectrum TV Choice gains serious traction, this rough patch will persist and CHTR stock will remain weak.

Telecom Stocks That Can’t Shake the Cord-Cutting Pain #2:

Comcast Corporation (CMCSA)

Much like Charter Communications, fellow telecom giant Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) can’t seem to shake cord-cutting headwinds.

As is the case everywhere, Comcast’s video and voice businesses are retreating, while its internet and advertising businesses are advancing. The unfortunate thing about this dynamic is that, much like Charter, Comcast’s retreating businesses are retreating at an accelerating rate, while its advancing businesses are advancing at a decelerating rate.

Comcast’s video business actually had net adds of 42,000 in the year ago. But last quarter, that flipped to a net loss of 96,000. Meanwhile, the internet business, which had net adds of 429,000 in the year ago quarter, reported net adds of under 400,000 last quarter.

This dynamic doesn’t bode well for future growth trends.

Granted, Comcast does have an entirely separate NBCUniversal business which gets money from the company’s film studio, theme parks, and broadcast and cable channels. This should help the company weather the cord-cutting storm.

Plus, Comcast also co-owns Hulu, which added 3 million subs in the first quarter (better than Netflix) and now has 20 million subs.

In other words, there are other attractive assets under the CMCSA umbrella which significantly de-risk the stock. But the underlying dynamic of continued video sub losses remains, and as such, this stock will continue to be pressured into the foreseeable future.

Telecom Stocks That Can’t Shake the Cord-Cutting Pain #2:

Source: Altice

Altice USA Inc (ATUS)

Altice USA Inc (NYSE:ATUS) is yet another telecom company with an advancing internet business and retreating video business, a dynamic which is unsustainable in a long-term window.

The only difference with ATUS is that it is considerably smaller than its peers, and revenue growth is considerably lower relative to peer growth rates.

Those are also dynamics which are unsustainable in a long-term window.

With revenue growth running at an anemic 2-3%, it really is only a matter of time before the cord-cutting scales tip and turn that positive revenue growth into negative revenue growth. Moreover, with B2C customer relationships at just 4.5 million and up a mere 0.1% year-over-year last quarter, ATUS could also be one of the first telcoms to suffer from total sub base growth going from positive to negative.

None of this is really good. The company also doesn’t have any savior that will come rushing in and help offset these cord-cutting headwinds — meaning that there is a bunch of risk here and not much reward.

All together, Altice USA looks like it will continue to suffer from cord-cutting headwinds into the foreseeable future. So long as that remains true, ATUS stock will keep dropping.

As of this writing, Luke Lango did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. 


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2018/05/3-telecom-stocks-cant-shake-cord-cutting-pain/.

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