Feb 2, 2018 - Economy

Charter's cable bets finally pay off with video subscriber gains

Photograph by Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

Charter Communications added roughly 15,000 customers to its video subscription package in the fourth quarter of 2017, the first time the network has added video subscribers since acquiring Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016.

Why it matters: Charter CEO Tom Rutledge warned that while these acquisitions would cause a dip in subscriber numbers in the short-term, they would eventually help the company develop stronger relationships with video customers. Those cable bets now seem to be paying off.

  • Charter, the third-largest telecom company in the U.S., has roughly 17 million subscribers. While a net add of 15,000 seems small, it's a huge increase for a company that lost nearly a half-million video subscribers in less than two years.
  • Rutledge previously blamed subscriber losses on password-sharing for TV apps.

In the age of on-demand, cable and satellite companies have rapidly been losing subscribers to tech companies, like Netflix and Amazon. But even those who "cut the cord" still rely on such companies for broadband and internet services.

Data: eMarketer; Notes: Pay TV viewers have access to traditional TV service, excluding streaming. Non-pay viewers either quit their service or never had access. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

What's next: Charter has also been making a push into creating and distributing its own original content. Last month it hired television production veteran Katherine Pope to lead its original content business.

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