MoffettNathanson: against all odds, cable sector gets on the upswing | Cable | News | Rapid TV News
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After a year of uncertainty, the outlook for the cable sector looks better than expected for 2016. So much so, in fact, that MoffettNathanson has rated top industry player stocks a ‘buy.’

The respected media business analysis firm has rated both Comcast and Charter as buys, and has gone neutral on Time Warner Cable.

While 2015 harboured concerns about cord-cutting, subscriber drains and an unravelling for the Time Warner Cable-Comcast merger, the year ahead looks a bit rosier. Cord-cutting has accelerated, but cable’s market share has grown, against all odds, in both video and broadband. At the same time, programming expenses have declined, taking pressure off of broadband pricing, which in turn makes cable packages more attractive to consumers.

Cable is still losing video subscribers — MoffettNathanson estimates that the segment finished 2015 with the loss of 514,000 subs in the US. But that total is half of what the losses were last year, and Time Warner recorded its best year in subscriber terms in ten years.

That result comes at the expense of IPTV and satellite — telco video growth has slowed to a net zero, while satellite lost almost as many subs in 2015 as cable.

“The message is clear: cable is clearly gaining momentum in video,” the analysts said in the report, adding that programming costs and the strength of telco competition will be the risk variables for 2016 — especially if the latter undertakes further fibre to the home builds.