Cable TV

FY-2014: Charter Communications reports loss of $183 million

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BENGALURU: US cable television, high-speed Internet, and telephone services company Charter Communications, Inc (Charter) reported 5.7 per cent lower loss at $183 million for FY-2014 as compared to the $194 million in FY-2013. For the quarter ended December 31, 2015 (Q4-2014, current quarter) the company reported loss of $48 million versus a net income of $39 million in the corresponding year ago quarter.

 For the year ended 31 December, 2014, revenues rose to $9.1 billion, 8.2 per cent higher on a pro forma basis than in 2013, driven by continued growth in Internet, video and commercial revenues. On an actual basis, full year 2014 revenues rose 11.7 per cent year-over-year. 

Fourth quarter 2014 revenues rose to $2.4 billion, 9.9 per cent higher than the year-ago quarter, driven primarily by growth in Internet, video and commercial revenues says the company. 

Video revenues totalled $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, an increase of 8.1 per cent compared to the prior year period. Video revenue growth was driven by higher expanded basic and digital penetration, annual and promotional rate adjustments, higher advanced services penetration, and revenue allocation from higher bundling, partially offset by a decrease in residential limited basic video customers.

Internet revenues grew 13.5 per cent compared to the year-ago quarter to $670 million, driven by an increase of 383,000 Internet customers during the last year and by promotional rolloff, legacy price adjustments and revenue allocation from higher bundling.

Voice revenues totalled $139 million, a decline of 9.7 per cent versus the fourth quarter of 2013, due to value-based pricing and revenue allocation from higher bundling, partially offset by the addition of 166,000 voice customers in the last twelve months.

Commercial revenues rose to $262 million, an increase of 16.1 per cent over the prior-year  period, and was driven by higher sales to small and medium business customers and to carrier customers. 

Fourth quarter advertising sales revenues of $107 million increased 28.9 per cent compared to the year ago quarter, primarily driven by an increase in political advertising revenue. Excluding the benefit of political advertising revenue generated in the fourth quarter of 2014, and during the corresponding prior-year period, total fourth quarter advertising sales revenues grew by approximately 8.9 per cent year-over-year.

Customer numbers 

During the fourth quarter of 2014, Charter's residential customer relationships grew by 73,000, with triple play sell-in improving year-over-year, to 62 per cent of total residential video sales. Commercial customer relationships grew by 6,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014. Residential PSUs increased by 157,000, while commercial PSUs increased 14,000 during Q4-2014.

During Q4-2014, Charter says that it continued to introduce its new product suite, Charter Spectrum, in markets that were recently converted to all-digital. Charter customers in these markets now have access to an industry-leading suite of video, data, and voice services that includes over 200 HD channels, in addition to minimum offered Internet speeds of 60 Mbps, and a fully featured voice service, delivered at a highly competitive price. Charter Spectrum is available to new Charter customers, and to existing customers within the Company's new pricing and packaging structure launched in 2012. As of the end of Q4-2014, the company claims that 86 per cent of residential customers were in Charter's new pricing and packaging, excluding customers in the former Bresnan properties.

Residential video customers increased by 3,000 in Q4-2014, versus a loss of 2,000 in the year-ago period. For the past two years Charter says that it has significantly increased the competitiveness of its video product, by including more HD channels and video on demand offerings, attractive packaging of advanced services, improved selling methods, and enhanced service quality.

Charter added 104,000 residential Internet customers in Q4-2014, compared to 93,000 a year ago. As of December 31, 2014, 80 percent of Charter's residential Internet customers subscribed to tiers that provided speeds of 60 Mbps or more informs Charter.

During the Q4-2014, the company added 50,000 residential voice customers, versus a gain of 56,000 during Q4-2013. Fourth quarter residential revenue per customer relationship totalled $111.52, and grew by 3.1 per cent as compared to the prior-year period, driven by rate adjustments, higher product sell-in and promotional rate step-ups, partially offset by continued single play Internet sell-in and bulk digital upgrades. In September 2014, Charter increased its broadcast TV surcharge. Excluding this rate adjustment, residential revenue per customer relationship grew by 2.2 per cent year-over-year.

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