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Charter Communications, which is expected to make a bid soon for its former paramour Time Warner Cable, lost 7,000 basic video customers in the first quarter, while managing to grow revenue by 7.3% and cash flow by 4.2%. Excluding a $21 million charge related to Comcast transactions, cash flow would have risen 7%.
The results were almost a polar opposite to TWC's, which yesterday reported strong subscriber growth across its various business lines, but missed on financial targets. For Charter, customer growth was down from the previous year, while revenue and cash flow soared.
Aside from the basic video losses, which reversed a gain of 18,000 video customers in the prior year (it also had 15,000 fewer bulk digital upgrades this year) customer relationships rose by 86,000 in the period, short of the 112,000 additions in the same period last year. In addition, high speed data customers rose by 125,000, compared to a 136,000 gain in the prior year. Voice additions also lagged from the prior year, with 42,000 new phone customers in the period, versus 52,000 additions in 2014.
"Our first quarter results continue to demonstrate the sustainable growth trajectory of our operating strategy to provide high quality products and service at an attractive price," said Charter CEO Tom Rutledge in a statement. "Our continued customer relationship growth reflects the growing value and utility of our offerings and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Our subscriber and revenue growth, combined with declining capital intensity, is leading to meaningful free cash flow growth."