Cable-subscriber growth was sluggish during the second
quarter ended June 30 for Toronto-based MSO Rogers Cablesystems Ltd., a unit of Rogers
Communications Inc., but the company saw a substantial rise in customers for its
Rogers@Home high-speed Internet service.
Cable subscribers dipped by 0.5 percent, or 11,400, to 2.25
million -- similar to the MSO's decline of 11,600 customers in the second quarter of last
However, the company saw its Rogers@Home subscriber total
climb by 24,500 during the period, finishing at 100,500.
Rogers added that it was able to market its high-speed
Internet-access service to about 2.5 million homes, or 89 percent of its 2.8 million homes
passed, during the second quarter.
The company had 1.2 million subscribers during the period
for its third-tier service, "MeTv," a penetration rate of 54 percent.
MeTv offers a package of 17 different specialty channels
such as The Golf Channel, Headline Sports, Speedvision, Family Channel, Outdoor Life
Network and Black Entertainment Television for about $4.95 per month, in addition to
"Reaching 100,000 Rogers@Home customers is an
important achievement, and it puts us solidly on track to achieve our full-year subscriber
targets," Rogers Cablesystems president and CEO John Tory said in a prepared
"At sign-up rates of almost 2,000 per week, customers
are clearly choosing cable over telephone lines as the preferred method of accessing the
Internet," he added. "The numbers indicate the value that customers place on
fast transmission speeds, 'always-on' service and Rogers@Home content."
Rogers also plans to continue actively marketing its
"VIP Cable" program, which offers customers savings on basic- and premium-cable
channels, as well as discounts on wireless telephone service, high-speed Internet access
via Rogers@Home and magazine subscriptions.
The company said 167,000 customers have signed up for VIP
Cable since its launch last October.
The bright spot for RCI continued to be its
cellular-telephone operations -- Rogers Cantel Inc. -- which added 109,500 new customers
in the quarter, a fourfold increase over the same period last year.
Churn rates for cellular service were also down in the
period -- to 1.5 percent from 1.9 percent in the year-ago quarter -- the company added.
RCI stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange,
closed at $17.50 per share July 1, up 68 cents, and it continued to rise, closing at
$17.69 July 6.