Charter Lowering Churn


Just two days after its first quarter officially ended, Charter Communications Inc. filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission showing that its marketing efforts to retain subscribers are beginning to pay off.

Charter released preliminary first-quarter results Friday, primarily to comply with government disclosure regulations. The MSO said in the filing that it expects to disclose the same information to prospective bank lenders in the near future.

Charter said in the filing that it expects to lose about 10,000-15,000 basic-video customers in the first quarter, about one-third of the 49,000 it shed in the same period in 2003.

The operator estimated that it added between 60,000-65,000 digital-video subscribers in the period, compared with a loss of 32,000 digital subscribers in 2003.

High-speed Internet additions are expected to be between 120,000-125,000 customers, in line with the 125,000 data subscribers Charter added in the first quarter of 2003.

Revenue for the first quarter is expected to be up 3% compared with the 2003 first quarter.

Charter did not disclose cash-flow results for the period, stating that because the first quarter just ended March 31 it didn’t have reliable estimates. However, the company said in the filing that it expects first-quarter cash flow to increase versus the same period in 2003.