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Integration Issues Drag Charter Q4

Sharp declines at legacy Time Warner Cable systems helped drag down overall subscriber growth at Charter Communications in the fourth quarter, leading the second largest cable operator in the country to shed 51,000 basic video customers in the period. That compared to a gain of 118,000 basic video customers in the prior year.

Charter said all those losses could be traced to legacy TWC systems—over the past 12 months legacy Charter properties grew basic video subs by 42,000 customers. The operator said that it will restart all-digital efforts in legacy TWC systems in the coming quarters, which should help spur growth.

Charter closed its $80 billion purchase of TWC in May and shortly thereafter began the arduous transition to its Spectrum brand in legacy TWC markets. That transition is still ongoing and is expected to be completed in most major markets by the end of the first quarter this year.

Integration issues tied to the massive undertaking of switching over more than 10 million voice, video and data subscribers, coupled with what some analysts assumed was deep discounting at the legacy TWC systems prior to the transaction closing, added to the pressure. Overall, TWC legacy systems shed about 105,000 basic video customers in the period.

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