Consolidation in the cable industry is continuing. AT&T scooped up DirecTV, Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable. The latest play: Altice, a European cable and telecommunications company, is snapping up Cablevision, based in New York. It’s Altice’s second acquisition of a U.S. cable operator, and the company’s presence in the U.S. could grow.
As consumers cut the cord, cable companies are losing millions of paid TV subscribers, so many are merging to survive. Jim Nail, an analyst with Forrester Research, said one reason this latest deal stands out is that the acquirer, Altice, is European and is moving pretty aggressively into the U.S. market.
In May, it acquired Suddenlink, with 1.5 million customers in states like Texas and California. Now Altice wants Cablevision’s roughly 3 million customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. That would make Altice the fourth-largest cable operator in the U.S.
“The days of the cable monopoly franchise within a small geographic footprint are quickly waning,” he said. “And the only way to survive is to become a much bigger regional, national or even international player.
Gartner research analyst Bill Menezes said he expects Altice will see more opportunities for growth in the U.S. And he said the company could offer consumers something distinctive — a bundle of services called a quadruple play.
“Which is every kind of communication connection a business or household could want,” he said. “Television, internet, fixed-line phone service and wireless phone service. And that’s essentially the bundle Altice has been trying to assemble in other markets, and that Cablevision has done to a certain extent in the United States.”
But Menezes says cable operators have tried to offer cellular service before, and none has stuck with it or been successful.