No Q3 Surprises for Charter

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A strong gain in revenue generating units nearly offset another quarter of basic subscriber losses at Charter Communication in the third quarter, and revenue and cash flow growth continued to keep pace with its peers.

Charter lost about 63,800 basic video customers in the period, keeping pace with most analysts' expectations. But a gain of 58,700 RGUs (a combination of voice, video and data customers) helped ease those losses and outpaced most analysts' expectations.

In a research note Wednesday, Citadel Securities media analyst Vijay Jayant wrote that the quarter posed no surprises - RGUs were higher than expected, mostly due to better digital cable subscriber growth. Revenue and cash flow gains at 4.5% and 4.3% were in line with Jayant's expectations.

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RGU growth was fueled by a strong year over year rise in digital customers (42,000 compared to 23,000 in the third quarter last year). High-speed data customers rose by nearly 51,000 in the period and phone customers were up by nearly 30,000 subscribers.
In September, Charter said it expected third quarter RGUs to rise by between 30,000 and 50,000 customers.
Charter stock was down one cent to $32.50 per share in early trading Wednesday.

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