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Marcus: TWC Will Add Video Subs in 2015

Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus again pledged positive basic video subscriber growth for the full year, adding that the company’s merger with Charter Communications is moving forward.

TWC added about 30,000 basic video customers in the third quarter, lost 45,000 in the second and another 7,000 in the third quarter. To post a positive gain for the full year, that means the cable giant would have to add about 22,001 video customers in the third quarter to show a gain, not inconceivable, even in this hyper-competitive video distribution environment.

Marcus didn’t give any specifics at the UBS Global Media & Communications confernce in New York, but added that despite new threats from over-the-top services, skinny bundles and the like, TWC is having its best year in terms of video subscriber metrics in years.

Marcus pointed to TWC’s three-year turnaround plan, initiated months before it first agreed to be acquired by Comcast (a deal that was later withdrawn) and its May agreement with Charter, as the main catalyst for its improved performance.

“We’re very confident that we will deliver video sub growth for the full year,” Marcus said.

TWC probably won’t be the only major operators to post video customer gains – Charter has said it also is on track for  positive video subscriber growth in 2015.

Marcus wouldn’t make any predictions as to when the Charter deal will close. He noted it is currently in day 89 of the 180-day Federal Communications Commission approval process, has secured most of the franchise renewals across its footprint and is working with state agencies in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and California to secure approvals there as well. At its current rate, the FCC “shot-clock” would expire in March, he said. And though the California Public Utilities Commission threw a scare into some investors by publicly stating it would make a decision on the franchise in June, Marcus said the company is “working with them to move that process along more quickly.”