US cable to rake in nearly $22B in commercial services revenues in 2021

CABLE NEXT-GEN BUSINESS SERVICES DIGITAL SYMPOSIUM – Overall growth has slowed in recent years, particularly during the earlier phases of the pandemic, but business services remains a critical revenue driver for the US cable industry.

US cable is poised to rake in almost $22 billion in commercial segment revenues in 2021, according to a forecast from CMG/S&P that was shared here at Light Reading's 15th annual event on the topic. While the bulk of those revenues are still coming from smaller businesses, US cable has made significant progress with medium-sized businesses as well as large enterprise customers that typically require lengthy sales lead times and systems that enable operators to deliver and support services outside their traditional network footprints.


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Commercial revenue growth in the US cable market dipped to 2% in 2020, a pandemic-marked year that saw some businesses close or go on hiatus, but appears to be bouncing back, with 3% growth expected for full 2021.


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Total customer growth also ticked up in 2021 versus 2020, effectively reaching the rate that the industry saw in pre-pandemic 2019.


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"There are signs of some rebound in terms of customer growth," Alan Breznick, cable/video practice leader at Light Reading, said in his opening comments at today's all-digital event.

Notably, 2018 was the last year cable commercial revenue growth hit double digits. While the pandemic has had an impact on commercial revenue growth, it's also a clear signal that the rate of growth has naturally slowed as cable operators take larger and larger pieces of the overall pie.

Among individual cable operators, Comcast is expected to pull in $8.9 billion in business services revenues for full-year 2021, according to Heavy Reading estimates. Charter Communications is set to drive commercial revenues of $6.9 billion, followed by Cox Communications ($2.95 billion), Altice USA ($1.57 billion), Cable One ($315 million), and Mediacom Communications ($301 million).