Time Warner as a whole reported a 4th quarter loss of $24.2 billion today. The cable unit, which lost $8.16 billion, suffered as people canceled subscriptions due to the economy. Yowch. [NYT]

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  1. nighttrain2007 says:

    Or they canceled as former customers found better service through another venue. Uverse just rolled out in my area. Although not available for my neighborhood yet, when it is I will be in line canceling my subscription to TW the same day. Overcharging customers, in and out service, and waiting 45 minutes to talk to a customer ‘support’ person (who won’t know the answer to your question anyway) is no way to stay profitable

    • metaled says:

      @nighttrain2007: Don’t go to them… Wait till the Uverse salesman comes out to your house, I was busy and tried to blow him off. He asked me how much I was paying for TW Cable..just to get rid of him I didn’t even think, quoted $30 less than it actually is (4 hook-ups)…he had already offered it at a lower than going rate, but now he offered to beat that price, for the same setup.. locked in for a minimum of 6 months.. I made time for him!

    • GirlCat says:

      @nighttrain2007: This will be such a happy day for you, trust me. The feeling of lightness I experienced as I walked out of their store is unparalleled.

    • sweetnjoe says:

      @nighttrain2007:

      I agree soooo much. I moved to LA and got TW. It was beyond horrid from day one. But the had a monopoly on the area so they automatically got all the business. The day Att came to my door saying they just started offering service here, I was so happy.

      TW has had a consistent reputation around here of having subpar technical service and horrendous, rude and incompetent employees. The day I canceled with them I made sure to tell them that too. You can’t expect to keep customers that way, and abusing their customers for so long is really biting them in the butt now that they have some competition. Every single person in my building switched.

      And for what its worth, ATT has better service for less money. I wouldnt go back to TW if they paid me.

    • ChibaCityCowboy says:

      @nighttrain2007: Yes that would be me … TW increasd my rate from $35 to $50 a month, so I went to AT&T for $19.95 a month.

  2. BlackMage is doing the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!!! says:

    Cry me a freaking river.

    Bring back Looney Tunes you bastards!

  3. Michael Ortega says:

    I was told today by a friend that during a meeting the field technicians that TWC was eliminating positions that were redundant.

  4. adamczar says:

    My gf doesn’t want to cancel our cable, or else I would have already done so. I’m content watching things online. Though, we did just downgrade after they raised their prices. I surely am not the only one.

  5. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I’m glad to see so many people realizing that cable is an expensive luxury that they can live without. I haven’t had cable since December 2000. To this day, I’ve never really even missed it. No cable provider I ever had deserved my business.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    Kind of ironic that the mega-corps that fought for, then won, anti-trust exemptions allowing themselves to kill competition find themselves getting killed anyway.
    I wonder if they had to stay focused on their core businesses instead of playing corporate Monopoly, they’d be in a better position.

    • legwork says:

      @Trai_Dep: Absolutely. So much time & money spent manipulating the same tired old product instead of producing anything.

      Funny though, I can’t even feel smug about it, what with the bazillions of people this could put on the street.

  7. crichton007 says:

    I had Comcast internet for a few months until the promotion expired and I found a better deal. This bait and switch thing they have going on isn’t helping.

    • Snarkysnake says:

      @crichton007:

      I was wondering if anybody would mention that.SIGN UP NOW !!!! ONLY $9.95 A MONTH!!!!! They scream that,while soft pedaling the promotional nature of the “offer”. Are people stupid enough to fall for this ?

  8. Coles_Law says:

    They’re getting hammered by Comcast’s pay-you-for-porn program.

  9. CaptZ says:

    People aren’t cancelling because of the economy…..well….sort of…..they are cancelling because the rates are too high and getting higher and you are etting less for your money, and people are moving to alternatives…..

  10. garfield1979 says:

    Didn’t they say a long time ago (10 or so years ago) that they would “soon” introduce “a la carte” pricing on their channels, so people could pay only for the channels they want? I guess they felt they didn’t feel the need to adjust their business model. I bet they might start listening to their few remaining customers.. by then I fear it might already be too late.

    • redskull says:

      @garfield1979: Yeah, all cable companies have been saying that for years, but everyone knows it’s never going to happen. If they offered a basic “Pick 10 Channels” package, then most of the channels would end up going away. Basically we’re all subsidizing channels we never watch.

      • garfield1979 says:

        @redskull:
        Then their business model never had a chance. subsidizing failure is never a good business model.
        I can’t see how cable companies will remain competitive when the content providers start offering their content for free via other means.
        it’ll go down in history as just another antiquated way to get money out of people, just as with the RIAA.
        Add to that the ever increasing ranges of wireless products and alternative content delivery mechanisms, and you’ll see that there wont be a way for them to remain profitable without acting on it fast.

        • Etoiles says:

          @garfield1979: I can’t see how cable companies will remain competitive when the content providers start offering their content for free via other means.

          Content providers never offer anything for “free.” The revenue that keeps the content-generating companies in business has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is (a) ad sales, and (b) deals with distributors (cable companies).

          Finding ways to turn even a modest profit in digital space is a BIG DEAL for your modern provider of content, because said provider (a company like NBC or Discovery or Disney or Viacom) knows that the current model isn’t infinitely sustainable.

          But the money has to come from somewhere, or companies can’t afford to produce programming.

          • garfield1979 says:

            @Etoiles:
            thats where the ad revenue comes in place.. if they needed more money to make more shows, then why are they offering their shows over the internet ?

            • Etoiles says:

              @garfield1979: Because if they don’t try to create an ad-supported internet venue now, people will stream and torrent the shows without ads.

              Anyway, you can’t sell ad sales in a space that no company thinks will be a good return on ad investment. So if, say, Swiffer thinks advertising on TLC the network will have a return, great. But they may not feel the same about, say, being attached to TLC’s web space. (That’s a hypothetical; I have no idea how Swiffer or TLC feel about anything.)

              • garfield1979 says:

                @Etoiles:
                Well that’s true from the contents creator point of view, but it is the business model of the content delivery businesses that stands in jeopardy here, not that of the creators, though that may change in a few years time as the business models evolve.
                wasnt it not too long ago that the writers of the shows were on strike because they weren’t seeing a penny of the ad revenue based on online content.

                • Etoiles says:

                  @garfield1979: Yes, but without a viable, reliable method of distribution (i.e., cable and satellite companies), provider networks (not the ones with broadcast arms, but something like Discovery or History or Food Network or Travel Channel or whatever) don’t have revenue, and can’t produce content. It’s all circular.

                  I don’t deny that as they currently exist, cable companies deserve to wither and die. (We’ve had a four-month-long epic saga with Comcast over our service; I’m pretty sure my fiance submitted it to this site, even.) But content creators need distribution in order to exist.

                  (And yes, I do work for a content creator, hehe, as does my fiance, so I’d rather they continue to exist and profit. ;) )

    • oneliketadow says:

      @garfield1979: The Lifetime Movie Network would instantly fold.

      • garfield1979 says:

        @oneliketadow:
        I think a better avenue for content distribution of these minority channels would be online content delivery, audience permitting.
        It’s too bad something will have to change before it gets better.
        We’re planning on cutting out cable after the digital switch and going straight to boxee on the apple TV.

  11. winstonthorne says:

    I hope it hurts.

  12. Anonymous says:

    UVerse is killing Comcast in Houston, Texas. I switched and when I went to return my Comcast box, there was a line of people returning their boxes out the door and 90% of the people in line were canceling because they got UVerse.

  13. liquisoft says:

    I think more people would want to subscribe to cable if they had an ala-cart system. I specifically don’t want 75% of the channels I receive, but I’m forced to have them anyway simply because I want that other 25%. People cancel because they have to pay $70 for a damn subscription and can’t afford that. If somebody had to pay $25 for just the stuff they wanted, I think people would be more likely to sign up for that. Nobody wants to overpay for things they don’t want.

    • wardawg says:

      @liquisoft: My cable company has been offering a la carte channels for years, you can currently get any channel for $0.99/month or ten for $7.99/month.

      Mind you it’s also a locally owned cooperative company. I’m getting about 150 channels plus an HD PVR box, unlimited long distance, and internet for $95/month, and that’s after the startup deal is over.

  14. 5h17h34d says:

    No pity here after catching then ripping off my elderly mother for stuff on her digital cable she has no use for. For them to tell her she “has” to have a tier with the nascar and bloomberg network is a crime IMO.

    I should sue them on her behalf for the $6 x 40ish months she was ripped off by these criminals.

  15. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    I’m a very happy former TWC customer. Hearing about TWC’s financial situation makes me even happier.

  16. Sam Wille says:

    Cable companies just can’t compete any more. The only thing that is honestly stopping me from getting Dish Network is the fact that I don’t have a credit card and I don’t want to pay $300 for the converter box.

    Also, I don’t want to go with someone else for internet – the savings just isn’t there. Yet.

  17. garfield1979 says:

    Its funny, just yesterday I recieved a letter from TWC saying that they are raising the rates by “ONLY $3″ (their words).
    Too bad they are going to lose me as a customer.

  18. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    That’s right, cable companies. Give me à la carte pricing or nothing at all!

  19. stellarceltic says:

    I’d love to give up cable, but with that goes most live sports, which are obviously unavailable online.

  20. PunditGuy says:

    Any word on how Comcast is doing? I just cut my $80 per month TV bill down to the $12 limited basic tier (in order to keep the $10 discount on my cable modem). Between Netflix streaming to my Xbox 360, OTA, Hulu and things that rhyme with morrents, I haven’t missed anything I want to watch. I don’t know if that’s sustainable or not, but so far so good.

    I wouldn’t have cut my cable package if they hadn’t jacked up their rates. I didn’t get a raise this year, and I’ll be damned if Comcast gets to have one.

    • Jakuub says:

      @PunditGuy: I’m in the same boat, but with TW; they tried to charge me $50/mo for JUST cable internet, which was quickly changed to their introductory rate for a year ($35/mo) – all my viewing is now via netflix on the 360, or via my PC, and I think I’ve watched MORE, and I’m sure I’ve watched more of what I want to watch, as opposed to just watching “what’s on”.

    • Bizdady says:

      @PunditGuy:

      Yup I might have to go in your footsteps, except for no 360 so goto stream via ps3 and pc. My company announced theyre freezing raises and TWC is really starting to annoy me.

    • Jiboo says:

      @PunditGuy: Comcast is (I hope) about to get their a** handed to them around DC because Verizon’s FiOS is making inroads. It’s in our building now and for cable and internet, it costs HALF of what Comcast charges. My fiance is researching to find out what the “catch” is but my prediction is that we’ll be among Comcast’s former customers in the near future.

      I’ve been with Time Warner, Cox and Comcast over the years — Comcast is the best in terms of customer service, but trust me, that bar is not exactly set high. I can’t wait to quit paying that ri-donkulous bill every month. I hope all three go out of business for their monopolistic ways.

  21. m1k3g says:

    What really p*sses me off is the fact that these huge companies now have a monopoly on Internet service. They can charge pretty much whatever they want, throttle bandwidth, pal around with the stupidass RIAA, and redirect DNS to increase their advertising revenue and consumers have no options to go anywhere else. Stupid government regulations suck.

    • garfield1979 says:

      @m1k3g:
      This is why net neutrality is sooo important.

    • JustThatGuy3 says:

      @m1k3g:

      To what government regulations are you referring? You’re perfectly free to launch your own ISP. Figure on $1k for every home in your city or town to build out your network. Show you have the financial backing to do this, and your town will allow you to attach your cable/wire/fiber to the local utility poles.

  22. 108Reliant says:

    IMO it is partly as a result of their lackadaisical approach to restore service to those areas less affected by storms last summer. Their attitude was “well, we will get to you when we get to you”. That ticked me off so much that I went back to AT&T for internet and phone service. And after doing that, I talked to at least 3 or 4 other neighbors who did the same thing. Obviously, this had a devastating domino effect. Then I will continue by turning off my cable TV when Uverse comes rolling through here hopefully this October as AT&T tells me.

  23. quail says:

    10 odd years ago my friends in Maryland moved to satellite TV when their cable company wanted to charge the neighborhood $30K to replace the lines. Seems that for years the area got bad reception that the cable company never would fix. They claimed it was the lines and that it would all have to be replaced in the area.

    And yes, the whole neighborhood went satellite. I mean what’s the point of paying those high fees if the monopoly doesn’t set aside money for their own needed upgrades?

  24. nycaviation says:

    Sorry, I’m paying $150 a month. I don’t buy the “people are canceling” story for a second.

  25. Jared Bares says:

    My desire to cancel my Time Warner service has nothing to do with the economy and EVERYTHING to do with their super crappy service. I can’t wait to move and cancel it.