Comcast Announces It Expects To Lose Customers In 2008

Yesterday Comcast lowered its growth expectations for 2008—not by much but down from 12% to 11% for the year. This morning at a media conference, Comcast’s CFO Michael Angelakis cited a “challenging economic and competitive environment,” with companies like Verizon and AT&T poaching its video customers to their new services. Oh, and also because nobody wants to be a Comcast customer unless it’s the only game in town.

Angelakis told the conference, with what we imagine was a straight face,

We will fight in the streets and do everything we can for retention but I think the expectation that I have is we will lose some share in the video side.

Shares of Comcast fell 12% in pre-market trading and another 8.35% in early trading to $19.

“Comcast sees customer loss in ’08” [Reuters]
(Photo: akeg)

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  1. Half Beast says:

    “We will fight in the streets and do everything we can for retention…”

    You have got to be f-in’ kidding me.

  2. bnpederson says:

    I have to admit, seeing a Comcast van pull a driveby on an AT&T van would be rather amusing… so long as I wasn’t in the line of fire.

  3. Starfury says:

    I’m one of the 2007 people that abandoned Comcast. I had them for internet and TV (Analog). I was tired of paying the big $$ they wanted and called to get a discount…no luck. Asked about digital cable since the analog picture generally sucked…and was told it’s $24 more per month. The internet gave me about 4mb download on a good day. I moved to Dish and ATT; my bill is lower, TV signal WAY better (and more channels) plus my internet is faster on DSL.

  4. vastrightwing says:

    Short sell CMCSA immediately! This is a great play. True, as soon as RCN, FIOS or any other provider moves in, Comcast looses customers. Excellent business model. In fact, they have nothing to look forward to in the future. Goodbye Comcast.

  5. Dilbitz says:

    My cable company (Insight) is switching to Comcast on 12/31/07. Perhaps I should start looking at satellite…

  6. Hoss says:

    At least in the area that I live where there are three alternatives to Comcast, Comcast happens to be the better evil.

  7. HRHKingFriday says:

    Well, I found out that I can get OTA broadcasts in HD. That was the final straw for me with comcast. I have netflix to catch up on the seasons of HBO/Showtime series and youtube to see all the highlights of the crap on MTV. I’m pretty much covered, for about 1/3 of the price of Comcast. Of course, that doesn’t take in to account the cost of having my dignity back as well, haha.

  8. headon says:

    Comcrap looking to put a beatdown on ya. Well I guess then nothing has changed. They’ve been beating us up for years now.

  9. forgottenpassword says:

    Ya know… if they offered a decent price, decent customer service & had installers that werent incompetant…. they wouldnt have to fight to retain pissed off customers. Comcast reaps what they have sown!

  10. watchout5 says:

    The only reason I’m with comcast right now is their promotional rate they have me on. If I wasn’t getting this promotion I wouldn’t be with them, I hate them and frankly I’m getting sick of the fact that they are the only ISP in the Seattle area who will offer the speeds they will. Sadly my other choice doesn’t think people want faster internet (effing Qwest), I don’t know what to do. I’m told I have to wait till 2010 till someone gets some real competition in the Seattle area. God I hate comcast.

  11. disavow says:

    Uh oh, better raise prices!

  12. missjulied says:

    @WATCHOUT5: I’m in Seattle too – have you checked out Speakeasy? Lots of different speed choices and GREAT customer service. They’re probably more than you’re paying, but I think they’re totally worth it.

  13. warf0x0r says:

    We just got our rate adjustments for ’08. An extra 5 dollars per package and an extra 2 dollars per DVR. Also if I want HD DVRs I have to pay an additional 7 dollars…

    As soon as The Wire and Battlestar Galactica are over I’m switching to DirecTV so they can count me as one person who is leaving.

  14. QuirkyRachel says:

    “We will fight in the streets and do everything we can for retention…”

    Seriously? Because when I had repeated connection issues with the cable boxes that would stop working within 2 weeks max, no one at Comcast seemed to give a &^#%.

  15. nucleotide says:

    Even if they’re the only game in my town and I still won’t use them. Disgusting, fraudulent, dishonest sacks of crap! I called to canceled my service before the free hbo rate reset to $30 and the rep actually didn’t cancel the account. Then the mess where I had to spend weeks to straighten that out. Seriously, do you really need to spend $$$ on tv anyway?

  16. catnapped says:

    @QuirkyRachel: Yeah, but that’s actual work for them…the bill money rolling in requires little or no effort from them whatsoever.

  17. SaveMeJeebus says:

    1. Run low on customers
    2. Acquire a company people like/trust
    3. Insert shitty execs/policy/support
    4. Raise prices
    5. Profit!
    6. Customers seek out competition
    7. Repeat steps 2-6

  18. That70sHeidi says:

    We’re leaving in 2008… Don’t really need the digital cable anymore, and I’m more than willing to go back to dialup for the few things I do online, if it comes to that.

  19. royal72 says:

    “We will fight in the streets and do everything we can for retention but I think the expectation that I have is we will lose some share in the video side.”

    bring it on combover boy, i’ll meet you in the parking lot. after i’m done ramming your forehead into that nice new mercedes that you got by raping your customers, me and the roach coach driver are super gluing that wig to your nuts.

    ps. don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out and take your cunt pump buddies, time warner and charter with you.

  20. B1663R says:

    That’s COMCASTIC!!!

  21. brodskylaw says:

    10 houses on my block. When FIOS was made available earlier this year, 7 houses on the block did the switch.

    Methinks Comcast is lying when they predict 11% growth next year. I’m thinking it’ll be more like a 30% loss.

    As for me, I took the phone, TV and internet from FIOS. WAY better TV picture, much faster internet, lower total price.

  22. rucussing says:

    I signed up for DirecTV, and one month after I had it, it would shut off and search for signal, sometimes for hours at a time. This was on perfectly clear days, no wind or rain. I called for service and they told me I would be charged $70.00 for the visit, regardless if it was my fault or a problem with the receiver. I called numerous times and was put on hold for hours, still the same result. Pay the $70.00 or live with it. I get a green picture for hours a day or night, It still shuts off and searches for signal. It is a piece of crap. But since it is bundled with DSL and ATT, I would lose my discounts for those services if I toss the DirecTV. I would recommend this service to no one.

  23. DoctorMD says:

    As soon as I finish watching the library on my DVR I am gone. Loss of overpriced & crappy content due to the writers strike was the final straw. And the end of college football.

  24. And by fighting for retention, they mean raising prices as customers in Washington D.C. found out recently.

  25. remthewanderer says:

    I will be canceling comcast in 2008 because I am going to be moving. I am trying to move into a town that has FIOS service just so that I no longer have to deal with comcast.

    IMO no company is more incompetent than comcast. I would take verizon ANY day.

  26. Indecision says:

    “Comcast Announces It Expects To Lose Customers In 2008

    Yesterday Comcast lowered its growth expectations [...] from 12% to 11% for the year.”

    Comcast does not expect to lose customers, they expect to grow by 11%. That’s quite the opposite of what the headline claims.

    It’s a good thing The Consumerist isn’t a real news source (as much as they want to be one). Can you imagine if a respected publication printed this headline? I’m pretty sure Comcast would have valid grounds to sue. There’s a huge difference between “losing customers” and “gaining fewer customers.”

    This is one of the reasons I voted against the Consumerist being included in Google News.

  27. Trai_Dep says:

    @Indecision: well, that and your corporate overlords said, “SHILL, vote against Consumerist. Or NO bonus!”

  28. guymandude says:

    @Indecision: There’s a huge difference between “losing customers” and “gaining fewer customers.” Yeah? Tell that to the bank.

  29. dirk1965 says:

    Oh darn! I feel so sorry for Comcast. NOT!!!

  30. Indecision says:

    @trai_dep: What?

    @guymandude: Yes, there is a huge difference, even to a bank. It’s a very clear difference, too. It’s the difference between addition and subtraction.

    “Losing customers” means subtracting. If I have 8,000 customers, and I expect to have 7,400 customers by year end, I have lost customers.

    “Gaining fewer” means I’m adding, but adding fewer that I expected. If I have 8000 customers, and I expect to have 8960 by year-end, but actually only have 8,800 customers, then I have gained customers, albeit fewer than I expected to gain.

    So let’s look at this from the perspective of a stockholder, where you expect the value of your shares to react to the company’s future performance. If they are gaining customers, but not as many as they expected to, I could expect the value of my stock to rise (though perhaps not as much as I’d hoped). If, on the other hand, they are losing customers, I would expect the value of my stock to fall.

  31. disavow says:

    @Indecision: Try reading the article.

    “Comcast Corp…said on Wednesday it expects to lose more basic video customers in 2008 as competitive and economic pressure mounts.”

    Their REVENUES are expected to grow 11% instead of 12%. Their CUSTOMER BASE is expected to drop. Yeah, there’s a really big difference, and not remotely the one you’re talking about.

  32. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    “Comcast shares fell 8.35 percent to $19 in early trading on the Nasdaq, after plunging as much as 12 percent in pre-market trading.” Link

    Dear Consumerist,

    Please learn to understand business news. The above does not mean it fell 12% in pre-market and then an additional 8.35% on open (a total of 19.3%), as your post says (“Shares of Comcast fell 12% in pre-market trading and another 8.35% in early trading to $19″).

    If what you said is right, it should have traded at 16.73 in early trading, which it did not (and has not as of this writing).

    One of the things you should try to do is get your facts right.

    Thanks.

  33. Indecision says:

    @disavow: Yeah, sorry. I expected the summary to relate to its headline. I mean, that’s how articles are usually written, right? You have a headline to introduce the topic, and an article that explains the headline.

    But it seems we have a headline about losing customers, and a summary that refers to “growth expectations” — without specifying growth of what, exactly. Given the headline, it’s reasonable to assume they’re talking about customers. I mean, revenue wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the summary at all. It just keeps talking about customers.

    So, why have a summary at all, if it doesn’t match the headline?

  34. vex says:

    “We will fight in the streets and do everything we can for retention…”

    What this really means is that people calling to cancel will be met with a frustrating tree of retention salespeople and after an hour of screaming “CANCEL MY SERVICE!” they agree, hang up, and keep billing you anyway.

  35. Cap'n Jack says:

    As soon as Verizon FIOS is available in the Wilmington, DE area, I’m gone.

  36. @notallcompaniesarebad: You’re right, I misrepresented what the stock did this morning, and I regret it. My apologies! I will try to report news of stock performance more accurately in the future.

    @Indecision: I disagree completely with your complaints. There is enough information in the headline and the summary to draw an accurate conclusion–and enough info in the source article as well. I regret nothing!