Dexter Goei is the CEO of Altice USA, the fourth-largest cable provider in the U.S., and he made some eye-popping comments in a recent interview about the future of his industry.
Speaking with CNBC’s Alex Sherman, Goei was asked if he envisions a day when cable TV, “as we know it, doesn’t exist.”
“Yes. For sure,” he answered.
“Everything is going to be IP-based, and then the question is because everything is IP-based, and you have so many different choices…,” Goei said in the interview. “What the cable bundle is doing today is putting together everything that’s available in the OTT world and providing it to you in a good format for you to be able to guide yourself through lots of different options in the way you watch television.”
In the same interview, the executive said he can imagine a day in which his company no longer offers linear cable TV.
“Because the economics get worse and worse every year. As we’ve been speaking, since I’ve known you over the last five years, the story is still the same,” Goei said. “Price levels for content continue to rise. Eyeballs for content over big bundles continue to fall.”
Altice entered the U.S. cable market a few years ago when it purchased the established cable brands Cablevision and Suddenlink. It provides service primarily in the Northeastern United States.
As of the end of the third quarter of 2020, when it lost 86,400 subscribers, Altice had just over 3 million pay-TV subscribers, making it the fourth-largest cable provider in the U.S. after Comcast, Charter, and Cox. All of those companies, Goei said, are controlled by families that started them at the dawn of the cable business.
Also in the CNBC interview, Goei said that he’d like to see some mergers between cable companies and wireless companies.
“I have been saying that for the last couple of years,” he said. "It just doesn’t make any sense not to, purely from an operational synergies, from a capital allocation synergies, from a branding synergies standpoint, and clients ultimately — when they do have more and more services from the same provider — the stickiness is better.”
The executive was also asked about the recent letters, sent by two members of Congress, that challenged major cable, satellite and Internet companies for carrying cable channels have broadcast election-related conspiracies. Altice was among the recipients of the letters.
“I’ve got my personal views. I’ll probably keep my personal views to the side,” he said. "I think from a professional standpoint, our customers require and request a certain amount of content. Some of the names that were mentioned in this letter to us clearly are content and channels that our customers want. And so we’re a provider of content for what our customers want. They have the choices to not want that content…”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.