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Time Warner Cable CEO Open to Netflix Streams

29 Jul, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Facing slower subscriber growth and declines in premium programming revenue, Time Warner Cable Inc. CEO Glenn Britt July 29 said the second largest cable TV operator is attempting to allow subscribers free access to content across multiple platforms.

Britt said the cable operator has tested the “TV Everywhere” concept with HBO programming in Wisconsin for the past 18 months, with positive results.

The brainchild of Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Communications, “TV Everywhere” would allow monthly subscribers to access programming on demand for free from multiple platforms, including the Internet.

“We want you to be able to display anything on any device,” Britt told analysts during a financial call. “How we get there technically is what we are working on.”

The executive said issues ongoing issues include incorporating browsers with Time Warner Cable’s set-top box.

Doug Mitchelson, media analyst with Deutsche Bank, asked if the open access would allow him to watch Netflix streams through a Time Warner set-top box on his TV.

“Assuming it comes over the Internet, then yes,” Britt said. “Our intention is to make the Internet and our current television [programming] available on every display device.”

Time Warner Cable said it would launch a high-speed wireless broadband service with Clearwire Corp. this fall, starting with four cities, including Charlotte, N.C., and Dallas.

Monthly churn was flat but net subscribers additions reached 150,000, down 67% from the same period last year, and 204,000 new revenue-generating subscribers, down 69%.

HD capable subs increased 258,000, ending the quarter with 5.1 million HD customers. DVR subs increased by 89,000, bringing the total to 4.2 million.

Video revenue growth was driven by price increases and growth in digital-video subs, which offset declines in basic-video and premium-channel customers.

“Given the slower subscriber growth in recent quarters, we expect that revenue growth will slow in the second half of the year,” CFO Rob Marcus said. “That, coupled with higher expected programming and marketing expense growth should result in somewhat slower OIBDA growth in the second half of the year than we had in the first half.”

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