Charter CEO says streaming services offer too many simultaneous streams

Tom Rutledge
Charter CEO Tom Rutledge (Charter Communications)

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has long been a big proponent of strong content security, and now he’s calling out simultaneous streams on subscription video services.

Speaking today at the UBS Global TMT Conference, Rutledge said that programmers that are launching direct-to-consumer services are offering more streams available than homes can use, which he said leads to more password sharing. He said the average amount of people in the U.S. household is about two. New services like Disney+ allow users to stream on four devices at once.

Rutledge said that what needs to happen is that subscription businesses will have to become more “subscriber-oriented instead of eyeball-oriented,” but added that currently “there’s no indication of that happening.”

RELATED: Charter joins ACE to continue its fight against password sharing

Charter has recently stepped up its efforts to mitigate password sharing and reduce other authorized access to content. In October the operator joined the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

“We are very pleased that ACE and its coalition of members have committed through this initiative to take on unauthorized password sharing and other content security practices, and we look forward to working together on this important issue,” said Rutledge. “Consumer, creators, and distributors alike will benefit from collaborative solutions that make content more secure and curtail unauthorized copyright use and distribution, while preserving the customer’s ability to enjoy the content rights they’ve purchased on the network, platform, device, and locations to which they subscribe.”

Charter has also set agreements with programmers, including Disney and Fox, to collaborate on solutions for preventing password sharing.

Charter has been facing continued video subscriber losses. Rutledge said the company’s video subscriber decline in aggregate has been at about 2.3% this year. He said he expects his company’s video business will remain under pressure mostly due to the pricing around big channel bundles.