Time Warner Cable Inc. reported huge customer losses for the third quarter, shedding residential video, high-speed data, and voice subscribers across the board. Specifically, the second-largest US MSO lost a whopping 306,000 basic video, 24,000 broadband, and 128,000 phone customers, racking up probably its worst quarterly performance ever.
TW Cable also shed double-play and triple-play subscribers, making the earnings report an overall rout for the company. Total customer relationships fell by either 117,000 or 131,000, depending on the two different types of metric the company uses.
In their earnings call with analysts Thursday morning, TW Cable executives blamed the unprecedented subscriber losses mainly on their twin programming disputes with CBS Corp. and Journal Broadcast Group over retransmission-consent fees. Both heated summer battles resulted in lengthy programming blackouts for cable customers in August and early September.
"All the action occurred in August and September, when the disputes were going on," said TW Cable COO Rob Marcus, who will take place Britt's place on Jan. 1. He noted that the programming disputes also had a lingering "hangover effect" on the rest of the MSO's operations, leading it to lose the broadband and voice users and reach out to fewer prospective subscribers as its customer call centers were jammed with complaints from angry customers.
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