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Time Warner Cable Loses 833,000 Video Subs

30 Jan, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Time Warner Cable Jan. 30 said it ended the fourth quarter with about 11.2 million video subscribers — down 833,000 subscribers from the previous-year period. The nation’s No. 2 cabler lost 217,000 video subscribers from the previous third quarter to end the year with a base about a third of Netflix’s 33 million domestic subs.

The video sub loss, which some observers attribute to so-called “cord-cutting” by consumers seeking lower cost over-the-top video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus, is in stark contrast to Comcast’s gain of 43,000 video subs.

TWC said residential video revenue decreased $151 million in the quarter ($436 million for the year), driven by declines in video subscribers and premium network revenue (which, for the full year of 2013, was reduced by approximately $15 million of subscriber credits issued in the third quarter in connection with a temporary blackout of Showtime resulting from a retransmission dispute with CBS) and lower transactional video-on-demand revenue.

Meanwhile, the TWC TV app — the cabler’s TV Everywhere antidote to SVOD — is now available on the Amazon Kindle Fire platform, in addition to Apple and Android tablets and smartphones, Roku media players, Samsung Smart TVs and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and on PC and Mac computers. The app features up to 300 linear channels and over 4,000 hours of VOD programming, and up to 24 live channels and 1,200 hours of VOD content from 40 networks outside of the home.

“We are geared up to manage this company for the long haul,” CEO Rob Marcus said in the statement. “We’ve got the right assets and a talented, passionate and motivated team aligned around a thoughtful plan.”

Whether that “plan” includes selling the company remains to be seen. In a fiscal call with analysts, Marcus said Charter Communications’ $37.4 billion buyout offer “substantially undervalues” TWC.

“The value offered by Charter falls well short of the value we can create,” Marcus said, “We are confidant in our ability to drive growth.”

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