Charter lost 105,000 video subscribers in Q4

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Charter’s residential broadband business added 313,000 new customers. (Charter Communications)

Charter’s video subscriber base continued to erode – at an accelerated annual rate – but the company’s video revenues increased during the fourth quarter.

The company lost 105,000 residential video subscribers, up from a loss of 36,000 in the year-ago quarter. The 3% decline year over year brought Charter’s residential video subscriber total down to 15.6 million.

Despite the loss (offset by small growth in business video subscribers), Charter’s video revenues rose 2.6% to about $4.47 billion. The company attributed the growth to rate adjustments and promotional roll off which outpaced a decline in video customers, a higher mix of streaming and lighter video packages within its video customer base and lower pay-per-view and video-on-demand revenue.

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"Our operating strategy continues to deliver strong results and in 2019, we created over 1.1 million new customer relationships, substantially more than in 2018. And we added over 1.4 million new Internet customers, also more than in 2018," said Charter CEO Tom Rutledge in a statement. "As we look to 2020, we remain focused on driving customer growth by offering superior services and value to our customers, improving the efficiency of our operations, and delivering sustainable free cash flow growth, by driving EBITDA growth, while reducing capital intensity."

Charter’s residential broadband business added 313,000 new customers (up 8.1% year over year) which helped drive revenues for the segment up 11.5% to approximately $4.35 billion. The company’s mobile business, which has now exceeded one million total lines, is also becoming a bigger contributor.

Charter’s consolidated fourth-quarter revenue of $11.8 billion was up 4.7% year-over-year, with residential revenue up 5.7% and SMB revenue up 6.3%. Adjusted EBITDA of $4.5 billion was up 8.8% year-over-year.