Friday, August 7, 2015

Will Triple Play Reach its Limits?

There is sound logic to the triple play. It basically represents a business model built on scope rather than scale. In other words, you sell more things to fewer customers, instead of a few things to more customers.

But are there limits to the model? At some level, yes. Up to this point, only four services have proven to be high-volume services “most” people will consider buying: voice, mobility, TV and Internet access.

In a competitive market, where the number of subscribers or accounts is limited, bundling works because it allows a service provider to sell more things to fewer people.

For a firm such as Cablevision Systems Corp., that means revenue still can grow, even if the number of new accounts is flat to declining.

Cablevision reported “Improved subscriber performance with largest quarterly gains in both customer relationships and high-speed data, in more than two years,” in its second quarter of 2015.

Average monthly cable revenue per customer of $158.52 was an increase of $5.80 or 3.8 percent, compared with the same quarter of 2014.

“Customer relationships” is not the same thing as “accounts,” but an indication of total services sold to any single account.

So the bundle still works for Cablevision. But there are limits. Unless at least one major new revenue source is found, Cablevision will eventually find it cannot simply keep raising prices to maintain revenue volume.

And by “major” one might suggest a new revenue source the size of voice, entertainment video, mobility or Internet access.

At some point, without discovery of a major new consumer revenue source, or new sources outside the consumer sphere, Cablevision’s bundling strategy will falter--as it will for any service provider--as consumers balk at ever-higher prices.

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