Home Internet Charter Loses 392,000 Pay TV Customers in First Quarter

Charter Loses 392,000 Pay TV Customers in First Quarter

Cable and broadband giant Charter Communications has seen its losses of pay TV customers quicken as it reported its first-quarter results Friday.

The company, led by president and CEO Chris Winfrey, shed 392,000 residential video customers during the latest quarter, which compared to a year-earlier decline of 237,000 subscribers. Charter had 13.1 million pay TV subscribers at the end of March 31, 2024 after the company introduced its Xumo streaming platform joint venture involving Comcast to stem the loss of video customers amid continuing cable cord-cutting in the U.S. market.

First-quarter revenue at Charter was virtually unchanged at $13.67 billion, compared with a year-earlier $13.65 billion, which met analyst expectations for the latest quarter. Net income attributable to Charter shareholders rose 8.4 percent to $1.1 billion, or $7.75 per share, compared with $6.65 in earnings per share in the first quarter of 2023.

Overall, Charter, in which John Malone’s Liberty Broadband has a big stake, had 29.8 million residential customers taking its Internet, mobile phone, video and other products at the end of the first quarter.

The company lost 72,000 residential Internet customers during the first quarter amid uncertainty over subsidies for Internet access for low-income households. That compared to adding 67,000 Internet customers in the year-ago period, while Charter added 473,000 residential mobile lines, down from signing up 666,000 customers in the same period of last year.

CEO Winfrey on a morning analyst call conceded “short term market challenges,” which included the loss of Internet and pay TV subscribers during the latest quarter. On the video side, he pointed to new streaming platform options to win back consumers as the cable industry faces continuing woes.

“While the video business is clearly under pressure, we believe that flexible and attractively priced packaging options across all forms of video, channels really, integrated within a modern user-interface and in a more frictionless environment can re-create value in the ecosystem for our customers, programmers and distributors,” Winfrey argued.

The Charter CEO also talked during the analyst call about reconfiguring the traditional cable bundle with new options that ties streaming and linear TV content together to lower costs for consumers, even as program distributors chase higher content pricing during programming renewal talks. “As we approach the marketplace in a different way, it creates consternation because it’s something very different. But our goal is really to create a video ecosystem that works for customers in providing utility and value — utility through Zumo and value through our ability to package in different ways that meet the customer’s needs at a fair price,” Winfrey insisted.



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