The announcement today from parent Time Warner officially concludes a complex set of negotiations involving Adelphia Communications. Time Warner Cable, together with rival cable operator Comcast, agreed to buy assets of the bankrupt Adelphia, whose creditors will now receive almost a 16% stake in Time Warner Cable. Shares are currently trading on a "when issued" basis.
Time Warner Chairman-CEO Richard Parsons in a statement said: "We believe Time Warner Cable is positioned to compete successfully in the fast-growing cable sector and to increase value for the shareholders of Time Warner and Time Warner Cable. Our aggressive integration efforts of the newly acquired systems are ongoing, and we're making progress toward preparing these systems to offer Time Warner Cable's advanced services."
Time Warner Cable provides service to around 26 million homes in 33 states.
Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Lynch raised estimates for Time Warner Cable this month, anticipating that the cable operator would sell more digital-video and digital-voice services than previously expected. During the fourth quarter, Time Warner Cable added 208,000 digital-voice subscribers for its cable phone service, while the addition of 29,000 basic subscribers represented the sixth straight quarter of basic-subscriber growth, according to the analyst's note. By contrast, telecom services moved in the opposite direction -- Verizon's and AT&T's broadband-subscriber additions for the quarter declined.
Digital on-demand offerings
Time Warner Cable has been dabbling in a variety of advanced on-demand services, the most recent of which is an ad-supported channel in partnership with corporate sibling Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated. The channel, which will be named SI On Demand, will feature ad bumpers that will play before and after video segments; advertiser-created content will also appear on the channel. Toyota is the first sponsor of the service, and deodorant Axe will sponsor a swimsuit sub-channel (in conjunction with the magazine's famed swimsuit issue). SI On Demand will premiere tomorrow in 7 million homes.
Time Warner Cable also offers "eBay on TV," which allows subscribers to purchase goods using their set-top boxes and a service called "Start Over," which allows viewers to come in late to a show and watch it from the beginning.