Wednesday, May 27, 2015

U.S. Linear Video Market Concentrates

If the Charter Communications acquisition of Time Warner Cable is approved, as well as the AT&T acquisition of DirecTV, just three companies, Comcast, AT&T and the new Charter would control 82 percent of the broader linear video subscription business (including both networks and distributors), according to an analysis by USA Today.

That might overstate matters a bit, but the general conclusion seems valid enough.
Over time, every consumer communications business eventually is lead by just a few firms. Capital-intensive industries tend to encourage such outcomes.

Analysis of Leichtman Research Group data suggests that perhaps five companies (distributors) control about 75 percent of the linear video subscription market.

Some seven companies would control about 87 percent of the market, using Leichtman Research Group data.

So perhaps six companies would control about 80 percent of the linear video subscription business. That is concentrated, but not as concentrated as the USA Today analysis suggests.

More important, the linear video business is contracting, and will be replaced by streaming services, virtually all observers predict.

What is more important is the high speed access business, which is largely, and eventually largely, the foundation for all fixed network access services.

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