Cox Reports Robust Basic-Sub Growth


Cox Communications Inc. kicked off the cable earnings season by reporting its
strongest basic-subscriber growth in five years, adding more than 54,000
basic-video customers in the first quarter ended March 31, a 1.3 percent

Revenue at the MSO rose 17 percent in the period and cash flow was up 12
percent -- in line with most analysts' expectations.

Cox said the increase in basic growth was due to a decline in churn and
stepped-up marketing efforts. The company added that its bundling strategy has
been successful in retaining and attracting customers.

Cox executive vice president of operations Patrick Esser said in a conference
call with analysts to discuss first-quarter results that if new nonvideo
customers were included in the figures, basic-subscriber growth would have been
2.1 percent for the period.

The robust growth appears to counter what many MSOs have been saying this
year -- that basic-subscriber growth will slow to under 1 percent.

Still, Cox declined to revise its customer-growth target for the year,
sticking to its 0.7 percent basic guidance.

Cox added 156,000 digital subscribers in the period, as well as 63,000
telephony customers and 118,000 high-speed-data customers.

Cox president James Robbins tried to squelch any rumors about the MSO being
on the verge of a major purchase, but he left the door open to acquisitions that
'make sense.'

In the conference call, Robbins said Cox is 'comfortable at our current size'
-- about 6.2 million customers.

'That said, we may want to grow larger, given the right opportunity,' Robbins