Charter Communications was named the Multichannel News Operator of the Year by the editors of the magazine.
The Stamford, Conn.- based company is moving ahead rapidly on technology plans and transitions that will future-proof the nation's fourth-largest cable operator.
A little more than two years after a management shakeup that brought in Tom Rutledge as CEO, Charter Communications has transformed what was once thought of as a mish mash of secondary market systems into a tightly clustered operator (soon to be even tighter) and the industry’s biggest potential growth engine.
Since 2012 Charter has boosted high-speed data penetration, grown phone penetration and drastically reduced video customer losses. Charter lost 154,000 video subs in 2012, 109,000 in 2013 and 11,000 in the first half of 2014, compared to 216,000 in 2011. And this year all-digital initiatives have allowed the company to expand its HDTV lineup and boost minimum downstream data speeds from 30 Mbps to 60 Mbps in many of its systems (and up to 100 Mbps in St. Louis).
The company has also begun to test a new cloud-based user interface for set-tops, called "Spectrum Guide," that is using a system that will allow it to bring this new experience not just to new IP-connected boxes, but to older MPEG-only boxes as well.
Although Charter grabbed headlines this year for the deal that got away, it turned the loss of Time Warner Cable into a windfall. If all goes as planned, Charter will become the second largest U.S. cable operator, owning and/or managing an additional 5 million customers (more than doubling its current footprint) through sales, swaps and its one-third stake in SpinCo, a new public entity that will house about 2.5 million former Comcast and TWC customers.
Update: On Wednesday, it was announced that SpinCo will be known as GreatLand Connections.
And most analysts expect Charter to lead the consolidation wave after the Comcast deal is finalized, either directly or through SpinCo. Charter is consistently the top distribution pick for analysts that follow the industry and its stock continues to be a top performer – it is up about 15% this year after rising 80% in 2013.
In a report on Sept. 29, the magazine will feature Charter, and show through interviews and data how the company plans to execute an ambitious growth strategy.