Charter Cools Q1 Video Sub Losses, Broadband Gains

Charter Communications April 29 reported a first-quarter (ended March 31) loss of 123,000 video subscribers, compared with a decline of 156,000 subs in the first quarter of 2021. The pay-TV operator had 15.7 million residential video customers at the end of the quarter, down from 16 million subs last year.

Charter added 164,000 residential high-speed internet subs compared to 334,000 subs added during the previous-year period. The company ended the quarter with more than 30 million broadband subs — up about 1 million subs from the same period a year ago.

When combined with Comcast, the two pay-TV operators control more than 60 million U.S. broadband households — underscoring their recent partnership to develop new streaming video platforms that could offer consumers cheaper streaming video access to Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max, among other third-party services.

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“We remain focused on our primary goal of driving connected customer and mobile broadband relationship growth,” CEO Tom Rutledge said in a statement. “Our new joint venture with Comcast will allow us to provide a next generation streaming platform that offers new and differentiated direct-to-consumer products to meet demand in a fast-changing video environment.”

Charter Offering Spectrum TV Subs Free Streaming Access to Peacock

Charter Communications and NBCUniversal Dec. 13 announced that the latter’s Peacock’s premium tier subscription streaming platform is available at no extra cost for 12 months to its near 16 million Spectrum TV customers. The company’s 30 million Spectrum internet-only subs get free 90-day access.

“As the video landscape rapidly changes, we are committed to innovating and finding ways to provide the most valuable content to our customers, wherever and whenever they want, and making Peacock Premium available … furthers this goal,” Tom Montemagno, EVP of programming acquisition for Charter, said in a statement.

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In addition to current-season programming from NBC and Telemundo, Peacock offers a catalog of original programming, including dramas “Dr. Death,” “Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol” and “One of Us Is Lying”; comedies including “Saved by the Bell,” “Girls5eva,” “Rutherford Falls” and “We Are Lady Parts”; reality hits including “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip,” “Paris in Love,” “Siwa’s Dance Pop Revolution,” “Hart to Heart” and “Baking It”; new episodes of “The Amber Ruffin Show”; upcoming original series including “Bel-Air,” “MacGruber,” “Wolf Like Me,” “Bust Down,” “Killing It,” “Queer as Folk” and “Joe Exotic” (WT); live sports including the NFL, Premier League, Olympics and WWE; and a massive library of hit shows, including “The Office,” “Yellowstone,” “Modern Family,” “Parks and Recreation,” “George Lopez,” “Psych,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Friday Night Lights,” “House,” “Downton Abbey,” “The Real Housewives,” “Law & Order,” “One Chicago,” “Dateline,” “Top Chef,” “Below Deck” and “Curious George,” as well as movies from recent and classic movies like Halloween Kills and Psycho, to the “Harry Potter,” “Back to the Future” and “Despicable Me” franchises.

“Peacock is an increasingly important destination for viewers who rely on NBCUniversal for even more original and library content, including entertainment, Hispanic, news and sports programming,” said Matt Bond, chairman of content distribution at NBCUniversal.

Peacock, which launched in June 2020, topped 54 million sign-ups and 20 million paid subs through June 30.

The service is available on the Roku platform; Amazon FireTV and Fire tablets; Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices, including Android, Android TV devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation4 and PlayStation 4 Pro; Samsung Smart TVs; Vizio SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs.

Charter Sees More Gain in Spectrum Video Subs

In the ongoing drain of pay-TV subscribers in the linear TV market, Charter Communications has been an anomaly. The company’s Spectrum pay-TV brand has gained or retained subscribers, even as consumers migrate to over-the-top video.

That didn’t change in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). Charter said it added 67,000 Spectrum TV subscribers in the quarter to finish the period with 16.23 million subs. The service had 16.24 million subs in the previous-year period.

CEO Tim Rutledge was enthusiastic about the company growth in broadband distribution — a growing lifeline for the pay-TV industry. The company ended the quarter with 26.8 million high-sped Internet subs — up 9% from 24.6 million a year ago.

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“We’ve added two million customer relationships in the past year and remain focused on executing a proven operating and investment strategy that works for customers, employees and the communities we serve,” Rutledge said in a statement.

Charter’s Spectrum TV App on Apple TV

Charter Communications has launched the Spectrum TV App on Apple TV.

Nearly 50 million homes across Charter’s footprint now have access to live channels and tens of thousands of programs on the Spectrum TV App for Apple TV, according to Charter.

Additionally, starting next week and expanding throughout 2019, new and existing Spectrum TV and Internet customers can get an Apple TV 4K as part of their monthly subscription for $7.50/month plus tax for 24 months, according to Charter.

Charter is the first U.S. based cable operator to offer customers the new zero sign-on experience from Apple, which further simplifies signing in to video apps on Apple TV, according to Charter. When first set up in a Spectrum household, Apple TV 4K or Apple TV (4th generation) will detect the Spectrum customer’s broadband network and automatically sign them in to the Spectrum TV App and all the supported apps they receive through their service — with no need to enter a username and password, according to Charter.

The new Spectrum TV App is also integrated with the Apple TV app and Siri.

“We are bringing our customers the most robust Spectrum TV App experience available today through Apple TV,” said Rich DiGeronimo, Charter’s EVP, products and strategy, in a statement. “With features like zero sign-on and Apple TV app integration, the Spectrum TV App on Apple TV delivers the best and most seamless viewing experience, giving customers even greater choice and flexibility to enjoy Spectrum TV.”

“With Spectrum TV on Apple TV 4K, customers can now enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience across their iPhone, iPad and Apple TV,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple VP of product marketing, in a statement. “We want to help customers get right to watching their favorite channels, shows, movies and sports, and with innovative features like zero sign-on, the Apple TV app and Siri, they are able to jump right in.”