Reporting a loss of 15,000 video customers in the fourth quarter, an improvement over the 25,000 lost a year prior, Altice USA is hopeful that it’s new Altice One CPE platform is helping to reduce churn in the same way as Comcast’s advanced video platform, X1, has.
But even with the platform supposedly yielding improved Net Promotor Scores among its customers, Altice doesn’t feel just yet like it has the goods to aggressively tie it to reduced churn in the same way Comcast has in recent years with X1.
Altice One is distributed in only about 300,000 homes, accounting for only around 10% of Altice USA’s video user base. Altice USA believes the platform needs a little more time to prove itself.
“We haven't talked about it broadly because we still think it's too early to tell to be very proactive in our commentary,” said Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call Thursday.
“We did want to start highlighting that we're seeing better NPS scores on the Altice One platform than we are seeing relative to legacy set-top boxes. You've also seen the improvement in video [revenue generating units] quarter-over-quarter throughout 2018. We don't want to attribute that yet to Altice One. So it's too early to tell whether that is a churn impact or whether there are things that are happening in other video technologies out there that are helping our video trends,” Goei added.
The platform’s ability to integrate popular OTT platforms like Netflix—and soon, Alice said, a vMVPD—is adding to Altice One’s allure, he noted.
“I don't think we are seeing a degradation, let's call it, of our linear viewership because there is access to OTT apps in an easier format,” Goei said. “I think it's really a question of a much, much better user experience and being able to access all the direct-to-consumer options that are out there in a very easy way, in a very aggregated way you're not switching between your HDMI 1, 2 and 3 on a regular basis on your television set.”
Meanwhile, with Altice USA actually promoting 1-gig fiber-to-the-home services in Long Island and surrounding parts of its Optimum footprint, Goei dismissed any notion during Thursday’s call that the operator will be looking at the cable industry’s emerging “10G” DOCSIS-enabled technologies, such as Full Duplex.
“Obviously, we're part of CableLabs. So as part of whole CableLabs experience, we're part of that. But we are more focused on our fiber-to-the-home GPON technology than we are on coax 3.1 10G technology,” Goei said.