Charter Gains Cable TV Customers

Charter Communications the holding company of Charter Internet and Charter cable reported a loss in Q1 of 2012 but at the same time managed to reverse the trend of reducing cable TV subscribers.

The St. Louis headquartered company reported a loss of $94 million or 95 cents per share. For the corresponding quarter last year the company had reported a loss of $110 million or 97 cents per share.

Gradually Charter is becoming more of an Internet service provider and less of a cable company. Still cable TV remains the biggest piece of the Charter’s revenue. Slow customer drop off has been a long standing issue for Charter. This trend finally changed in Q1 of 2012 when the company added 20,000 video customers which brought the total number of cable subscribers to 4.16 million compared to the 24,000 that it lost in the corresponding quarter of 2011. Tom Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications said that this is the first quarterly growth in five years. He also said that the company is committed to keep on improving the picture signal quality and number of channels. He also promised its subscriber that the company would be bringing 100 HD channels by mid 2012. However customers should be willing to pay more. Already 40 percent of its video customers have seen an increase of 3 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Losing video customers have become common in the cable TV business which is already facing stress due to competition from telecom companies rolling out video services like AT&T’s U-Verse. Rutledge further added that Charter’s strongest competition is from satellite TV companies. He said that Charter’s video competitors are offering better signal quality and more HD channels. With its analog service Charter is way behind its competitors. The company plans to bridge the gap in the near future.

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