Cutting Down On Cord-Cutting? Charter's Spectrum Might Have The Answer

How can Charter Communications, a longtime cable TV operator, be gaining cable TV video subscribers-- when virtually all cable TV companies keep losing subscribers?

Charter grew 102,000 video subscribers in the second quarter over the same period a year ago. Tom Rutledge, president-CEO of Charter, says it wasn’t only the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders drawing in more cable TV subscribers, but also about adding more broadband customers.

Speaking at an industry event, Rutledge attributed the video growth alongside the strength of the other major service of Charter’s Spectrum -- broadband -- where it added 825,000 customers in second quarter -- a record.

The argument seems to be around packaging broadband and cable video service -- where there still might be an argument for a great price deal, and choice.

Rutledge says growth can continue. “We look at our future in video as more of a video store with a whole range of products, including tiers, sports channels, traditional video products, linear products, AVOD products. Making that an easy transaction for the customer and part of the overall connectivity experience.”



But seemingly not when your cable TV bill might still be $120 a month of so. Disney+, Hulu (on demand) and ESPN+ run $12.99 a month.

Rutledge also pointed to more rapid declines among satellite TV providers -- DirecTV and Dish Network. Satellite TV service providers DirecTV and Dish Network lost about 1 million subscribers in the second quarter, and nearly 8 million customers since the third quarter of 2018, according to MoffettNathanson Research.

Is Charter adding subscribers from those leaving DirecTV and Dish? We don’t know specifically. One of the main differences here: Unlike Charter’s Spectrum, DirecTV doesn’t have a broadband unit among its operations. But parent AT&T does.

The missing piece could be all those great promotional package deals Charter has, which can throw in much lower discounted cable TV packages along with high speed broadband deals -- sometimes up to two years. That could be where the rubber meets the road.

All this is to say -- wait for those promotions to end, and then we’ll revisit. But right now, you can be sure that no one at Charter uses the word “cord cutting” much. How about cord-adding?

1 comment about "Cutting Down On Cord-Cutting? Charter's Spectrum Might Have The Answer".
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  1. Tom Tyler from GCTVTexas, September 23, 2020 at 2:59 p.m.

    Or "cord enhancing"? Thanks for covering this and the HBOMax story, I am ~very~ interested in how the big boyz are handling this! :D

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