Charter CEO: Rebranding May Not Be Right

Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge said the cable operator should explore a reflagging of its consumer brand, although he isn’t sure whether a change is needed or if the ROI would pay off.

“It is an opportunity,” he said at an investor event Wednesday. “It’s something we need to consider. But I can’t tell you yet that I want to do that or that the cost of doing it is worth it -- and that there isn’t other low-hanging fruit that isn’t more opportunistic from a marketing perspective.” 

Cablevision -- where Rutledge was COO -- launched an Optimum brand, and Comcast has been rolling out an Xfinity moniker. Both have done it very successfully, Rutledge said.

At Charter, there have been some “reputational issues” the company needs to address in marketing, while marketing can face a hurdle in lacking scale when it only serves smaller parts of certain markets, Rutledge said.

Separately, as unlikely as it may be, if content providers tried to upend the ecosystem and sell networks and packages directly to consumers in an over-the-top fashion, Rutledge said he is confident that would not gut Charter’s business.

“I could find a way to reassemble packages in ways that would be really attractive to customers … I could market directly with my subscriber relationship(s) and put together a variety of products … video, data and voice and other communications services, where I could build a value proposition across the platform that would be greater than the sum of the parts,” Rutledge said.

He added that he still envisions growth opportunity in video even as broadband service becomes a larger part of cable operators’ businesses.

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