New York - Despite declining
subscribers, a sluggish economy and an anemic housing market, Bank of
America Merrill Lynch first vice president and managing director Jessica
Reif Cohen is still bullish on the cable sector, fueled by strong growth
in new services and a laser-like focus on higher end customers.
Reif Cohen, interviewed by
Multichannel News editor-in-chief Mark Robichaux at the Broadcasting
Cable Multichannel News On Screen Media Summit here, said that although
cable has lost basic subscribers over the years, it has more than made
up for it in higher margin customers who take more products.
The influential media analyst
pointed to Comcast's recent third quarter results, adding htat while
basic subscriber losses were heavier than expected - 275,000 vs. the
analyst consensus of 189,000 in losses - there was a strong uptick in
high-speed Internet and phone customers.
"You're seeing a difference
with the haves and have-nots," Reif Cohen said, noting that the amount
of subscribers taking faster and more expensive high-speed data packages
industry wide outnumber those taking lower priced packages by a margin