It’s an evergreen aspiration, even more timely during a downturn: More revenues, less expenses.

Comcast’s upbeat 4Q and year-end earnings call fit the bill: More revenue (up 3.9 percent from 2008), more voice, data and digital subs; more business services customers.

The other side of that coin was "less." One example: the $81 million 4Q severance charge associated with a "reduction in staffing levels."

Comcast, of course, hasn’t been alone here. The regionalization of Time Warner Cable systems that began several years ago, for instance, led to the elimination of numerous mid-level and senior engineering positions. Headcounts have fallen.

Technology is an underlying driver. Faster interconnects and more powerful tools enable regionalization. Other technologies, such as Voice over IP (mentioned specifically in the Comcast call) have their own efficiencies of scale.

The dramatic efficiencies of analog reclamation also deserve mention.

Back-of-the-envelope calculations: A decade ago, the cable industry spent $60 billion to gain 200 MHz of spectrum. If Comcast were as big then as it is now (let’s say, 37 percent of the U.S. market), it would have spent $22 billion, or $110 million per MHz.

By contrast, Comcast is now netting 300 MHz of spectrum for $2 billion, or $7 million per MHz. That is, 6 percent of what it cost ten years ago.

On the call, Sanford Bernstein Senior Analyst Craig Moffett, reviewing Comcast CapEx trends, which dropped five percentage points from 2007 to 2009, speculated that it could remain below 15 percent of revenues going forward.

"Your theory is relatively right," Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis said, in response. "We don’t foresee any major changes."

Cost containment is certainly here to stay. It’s a part of the Comcast-driven converged multiservice access platform (CMAP) outlined in these pages last month. And it figures in this month’s discussion of a common control plane (CCP).

Jonathan Tombes

Editor

The Daily

Subscribe

NARB: Boost Should Stop Unlimited Data Claims

The National Advertising Review Board recommended that Boost Mobile discontinue the claim “unlimited data” for its Go Unlimited data plans. The plan includes 35GB of 4G LTE data, followed by unlimited 2G

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up

Calendar

Jul 16
Diversity List – 2021 Nominations Due: July 16, 2021
Sep 10
Most Powerful Women – 2021 Nominations Due: Sept 10, 2021
Dec 7
Most Powerful Women CelebrationSave the Date!
Full Calendar

Jobs

Seeking an INDUSTRY JOB?
VIEW JOBS

Hiring? In conjunction with our sister brand, Cynopsis, we are offering hiring managers a deep pool of media-savvy, skilled candidates at a range of experience levels and sectors, The result will be an even more robust industry job board, to help both employers and job seekers.

Contact John@cynopsis.com for more information.