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Time Warner Cable Q1 Video Subs Down 344,000

30 Apr, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Time Warner Cable April 30 made news when it reported its first quarterly net gain of video subscribers since 2009. The No. 2 cable operator added 30,000 video subs in Q1 (ended March 31) to end the period with 10.8 million subs.

Yet, when comparing the quarter with the previous-year period, TWC actually had 344,000 fewer video subs — underscoring the subscriber sinkhole the cabler has to climb out of. Indeed, TWC lost 400,000 video subs in 2014; 833,000 in 2013 and 532,000 in 2012.

So adding 30,000 subs is cause to celebrate.

“By almost any measure, Q1 was our best subscriber quarter ever,” CEO Rob Marcus said on the conference call. TWC also added 632,000 broadband subscribers year-over-year to end the quarter with 11.9 million.

Marcus said that while much of the attention on TWC over the past 14 months has been the proposed acquisition by Comcast, the company has “quietly” worked behind the scenes to improve internal operations.

Indeed, it would have been surprising had Marcus, who became CEO of TWC in January 2014, not been preoccupied with the Comcast merger. After agreeing to Comcast’s $45.2 billion purchase price, Marcus reportedly was set to exit with $80 million in severance payments — essentially earning in excess of $1 million a day for the two months he ran the company.

All that came to an end earlier this month after Comcast pulled the plug on the transaction when it became apparent regulators were not on board with the deal.

In the analyst call, Marcus said TWC has worked to improve customer service systems that led to 15% fewer “truck rolls” to consumer homes. It also added weeknight and weekend calls.

“We're serving customers on their schedules rather than ours,” he said.

When asked about industry efforts to consider downsizing the channel bundle as Verizon did with FiOS Custom TV, COO Dinesh Jain said Time Warner Cable still believes in the traditional pay-TV ecosystem.

“In terms of skinny [TV channel] packages, we don't want to be pioneers on that,” Jain said. 

He said if smaller bundles gain traction, TWC is capable of implementing similar product offerings.

“I think there are some segments of our customer base where [a smaller TV bundle] is going to have appeal,” Jain said.


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