Time Warner Cable Loses Just 7,000 Video Subscribers in the Third Quarter

Profit Tops Estimates on Internet Additions

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Time Warner Cable's Manhattan store.
Time Warner Cable's Manhattan store. Credit: Michael Nagel/Bloomberg

Time Warner Cable is the latest pay-TV operator to provide some relief in what has been an otherwise nerve-wracking media marketplace.

The company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings as it lost fewer subscribers than expected and gained more residential high-speed internet customers.

Time Warner Cable lost 7,000 video subscribers and gained 232,000 internet customers in the quarter. Two analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predicted the company would lose 113,000 TV subscribers on average and gain 146,000 internet users.

On Tuesday, Comcast said it lost 48,000 cable-TV subscribers in the quarter, its best showing in nine years and less than the 60,000 analysts predicted.

Time Warner Cable's profit excluding some items was $1.62 a share, the New York-based cable company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts predicted $1.55 a share, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue gained 3.6% to $5.92 billion, compared with projections for $5.96 billion.

Regulators are weighing whether to approve Charter Communications's $55.1 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable, which, along with Charter's pending purchase of Bright House Networks, would create the country's second-largest cable and broadband provider with 23.9 million customers. In April, Comcast dropped its $45.2 billion takeover bid for Time Warner Cable in the face of regulatory opposition.

As the number of Americans paying for cable TV declines, Time Warner Cable has responded by offering cheaper bundles of cable, Internet and phone service and invested in its broadband network as younger viewers increasingly stream TV shows on the Web.

Selling high-speed internet service, especially to business customers, has been a main source of growth for cable operators as TV subscriptions fall. Like other cable companies, Time Warner Cable and Charter face rising costs for programming, particularly live sports, and pressure from online-streaming TV services like Netflix and Hulu that give consumers cheaper entertainment options.

At the start of the year, Time Warner Cable customers had a $2.75 monthly charge added to their bills to cover sports programming costs.

-- Bloomberg News

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