According to Charter Communications chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge, the company‘s Spectrum TV app is the "most widely used live streaming app" in the world, with more than 10 million customers using the software exclusively to get video from the cable operator.
Rutledge's declaration is probably confined to virtual MVPD apps, and not social video platforms like TikTok, Facebook and Twitter. But still, the number is impressive. And it could grow soon if Charter were to expand its streaming OS outside its footprint, as Comcast is doing with Xfinity X1/Flex.
Speaking during Charter's third-quarter earnings call Friday, Rutledge was responding to a question about the Spectrum TV app being supported by Comcast's XClass TV initiative, which involves selling X1-powered Hisense smart TVs at Walmart to customers both in and out of Comcast's footprint.
“We like the Comcast strategy with regard to putting their platform on televisions,” Rutledge said. ”We think there's lots of opportunity for us to continue to change the video model, and to take advantage of our relationship with customers and to make the video model more efficient for programmers and for operators and to bring value back into television.”
Credit both of the top U.S. cable companies with successfully changing the narrative around the product that first put them in business many decades ago — using wires to transport TV/video signals into homes.
Charter lost another 121,000 linear video customers in the third quarter, dropping its traditional TV base under 16 million. These ever-eroding metrics once stood drearily front and center amid the earnings reports for the top cable operators, but they're barely even noticed now.
The focus, of course, is on the growth of Charter's high-speed internet business, with the cable company adding 265,000 broadband HSI users in Q3 and closing in on 30 million customers nationwide.
About half of those subscribers are demurring on traditional TV/video service these days. And an unclear but seemingly growing portion of this broadband-only base seems to be taking Charter's $20-a-month skinny bundle of 60 live channels, streamed over the Spectrum TV app.
The app-delivered bundle includes A&E, AMC, History, Comedy Central and Hallmark Channel and can be signed up for and cancelled immediately, not contracts, set-tops or fees included.
Charter is also selling this skinny streaming bundle to the growing customer ranks of Spectrum Mobile, which now tallies 3.2 million user lines.
The Spectrum TV app is also used by Charter‘s still-robust traditional TV base as a TV Everywhere tool, streaming managed linear pay TV service on OTT devices.
Notably, the app was recently restored to the Roku Channel Store, following a lengthy contract impasse.
The app is also supported by Apple TV, Google Chromecast (but not Android TV/Google TV), Samsung smart TVs, Xbox One … and now XClass TV.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!