Verizon's FiOS TV Subscriber Growth Slowed in Third Quarter

The pay TV service added 131,000 net new customers, down from 204,000 in the year-ago period.

NEW YORK - Telecom giant Verizon said Friday that its FiOS TV service now has 4 million subscribers, with 131,000 net additions in the third quarter.

The subscriber momentum in the latest quarter was weaker than Wall Street observers had predicted with the company mentioning a strike and bad weather as factors. It was also weaker than the 184,000 net additions in the second quarter and the 204,000 additions in the third quarter of 2010.

Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce had projected 160,000 net subscriber additions. And Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe said after the earnings report that FiOS TV net adds came in below his estimate of 181,000.

The quarterly update came a day after competitor AT&T had also reported weaker-than-projected TV subscriber growth, kicking off earrings season for pay TV distributors with less momentum than expected. Analysts have predicted lower pay TV subscriber losses in the third than in the second quarter.

But Verizon was bullish on the current fourth quarter. "With the clearing of FiOS installation backlogs caused by the storms and strike, Verizon expects to add at least 200,000 FiOS Internet and 200,000 FiOS TV customers in fourth quarter 2011," the company said in its earnings report.

Verizon added 138,000 FiOS broadband subscribers in the third quarter, below Ratcliffe's 170,000 estimate and down 38.9 percent from the year-ago period. The company lost 118,000 DSL subscribers though, for a net gain of 20,000 broadband users. Verizon said it had a total of 4.6 million FiOS broadband subscribers as of Sept. 30.


Twitter: @georgszalai

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