Insight Posts 5.4% Annual Subscriber Gain


Insight Communications continued to buck the trend of its cable peers that have experienced heavy basic subscriber losses, reporting a gain of 35,000 basic customers for the year, an increase of 5.4%.

The announcement comes on the heels of the New York-based cable operator’s completion of the split of its Insight Midwest partnership with Comcast on Jan. 2.

It was also the third consecutive year of positive basic subscriber growth for Insight, which reported a 4% increase in 2006 and a 2% increase in 2005.

Insight, in a release, didn't provide separate numbers for the company's fourth quarter. In November, Insight reported it added a net 21,100 basic customers in the third quarter, a company record for the period.

In the January split, Insight retained systems that pass about 1.3 million homes in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, while Comcast took full control of systems that pass 1.2 million homes in northern Indiana and Illinois. Insight said that its gains in 2007 were for its wholly-owned systems only – none of the systems that were transferred to Comcast were included in the results.

Cable operators have struggled with basic customer losses as slow housing starts, the sluggish economy and increased competition from telephone and satellite TV companies have eroded their video base. In the first nine months of 2007, the four largest publicly traded cable operators (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Cablevision Systems) have lost a collective 236,000 basic customers. Those four operators are expected to report their fourth quarter results next month.

“Achieving over five percent basic customer growth and record-breaking growth for our phone and broadband services is an incredible accomplishment,” said Insight CEO and vice chairman Michael Willner in a statement.

In addition to the 35,000 basic additions – Insight finished the year with 721,668 customer relationships – the operator added 68,000 new phone customers, 78,000 new high-speed Internet customers and 55,000 new digital subscribers.

In a statement, Insight chief operating officer Dinni Jain said the company’s goal has been not just to reverse basic video declines, “but to build sustainable growth capability by putting equal emphasis on retention and acquisition.” He added that the subscriber gains for 2007 are “particularly gratifying given the distraction to employees of splitting the Insight Midwest partnership with Comcast.”