Cable giant Charter Communications, in which John Malone’s Liberty Broadband owns a big stake, reported its second-quarter results, including latest subscriber trends, on Friday.
The company, led by chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge, lost 226,000 pay TV subscribers in its latest quarter, compared with a loss of 50,000 in the year-ago period.
Asked earlier this year why Charter seems to be outperforming its peers in terms of video subscribers, Rutledge said: “We try hard, for one thing. And we try to [add] value, where we can, for the consumer.” He added: “There is still opportunity in video. And one of the things we have had success with is the creation of additional packaging and the mix of video products that we actually sell to consumers. ”Concluded the Charter CEO: “It has been difficult, because of the way historically video has been packaged in this very fat, expensive bundle that is driven by sports rights costs.” But the firm has “been able to get some of the content out of that ecosystem and put it into tiers, and we are successfully selling them.”
Charter’s broadband user growth turned into a decline in the second quarter as it lost 21,000 customers after gaining 400,000 in the year-ago period.
But quarterly broadband customers in its residential and small- and medium-business segments increased by 38,000 on a combined basis when excluding 59,000 “disconnects related to the discontinuation of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program and additional requirements of the Affordable Connectivity Program.” The company had previously warned that those changes to government programs helping consumers get Internet services would cause a 60,000-70,000 user drag in the period.
On Thursday, Comcast had reported that its broadband user base stalled in the second quarter.
Cable operators’ stocks have been hit hard in recent months amid challenges in broadband, which has long been a growth business, with some Wall Street analysts predicting that some cable firms could lose broadband users in the April-June period.
As of the end of June, Charter had nearly 30.25 million total broadband customers and nearly 15.50 million total video subscribers.
Charter also added 344,000 mobile phone lines in the second quarter, up from 265,000 additions in the year-ago period. It ended June with 4.3 million total mobile lines.