Many Time Warner Cable TV Customers Not Sticking Around With Charter

Image courtesy of Photo Nut 2011

It’s the time of year when all publicly-traded companies announce their last quarter’s results. And over in Charter-land, something’s not looking so good: video subscribers are down, but it’s not a universal cord-cutting trend across the board. Instead, the loss is almost entirely concentrated in Time Warner Cable markets.

As Ars Technica reports, that was the news out of Charter this month… and it’s all down to money.

The Charter and Bright House segments of the newly, massively merged New Charter behemoth are doing all right, company CFO Christopher Winfrey said in the recent investor call, but former Time Warner Cable customers are not sticking around.

Winfrey attributed the loss of 47,000 TWC pay-TV customers in the last quarter to “an increase in video downgrade activity, given legacy pricing and packaging issues.” Out of Investorese and back into English, that means that Charter’s jacking prices on TWC customers, and offering different bundles — so customers are walking.

Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge called TWC video packages “mispriced” and said they needed to move “in the right direction,” which, as far as Charter is concerned, means up.

For Charter, of course, while video may still be big bucks, it’s not the future of their company. Internet access is (as it was in Comcast’s failed attempt to buy TWC, too).

Any TWC customer who ditches their pay-TV package in favor of over-the-top (streaming) competition is, in the end, almost certainly still a Time Warner Cable internet customer, because the bits and bytes have to come from somewhere and cable is not a competitive market.

So if the video dollars go to Dish Sling, PlayStation Vue, or DirecTV now, well, Charter still gets to keep raking in a monthly profit for providing internet access, while someone else handles all the messy carriage contracts and retransmission fees.

Charter losing Time Warner Cable TV customers as it imposes new pricing [Ars Technica]

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