Charter sees no need to offer its own video streaming hardware

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Charter surprised many in the industry when it added a net 102,000 video subscribers in the second quarter amid continued losses for its competitors. (Charter Communications)

Charter doesn’t think it needs its own video streaming box and believes its video app strategy and third-party agreements are enough to satisfy its customers.

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge spoke this week at a Goldman Sachs investor conference and said that Charter’s newer set-top boxes have modems built in, which allows them to offer OTT services. He also said Charter has millions of customers who subscribe to Charter’s Spectrum service through smart TVs, Roku devices and other platforms.

“We don’t feel like we need to have an equipment strategy in the IP place necessarily. But if we somehow get locked out or everybody builds a walled garden around their hardware or their operating system, we think we can work through our own set-top box strategy and use our own integrated set-top boxes to put apps on them and satisfy our customers,” Rutledge said.

He added that Charter believes the marketplace is evolving in a manner more focused on apps than hardware.

RELATED: Charter explains why Spectrum still doesn’t have a voice remote

Charter said in October last year that it was interested in putting out a device similar to Comcast Flex, which is a hardware/platform built for broadband-only subscribers. At the time, Rutledge called in an interesting idea that has its advantages.

However, Charter’s recent comments suggest that its happy with its current video platform. Last week, Charter CFO Chris Winfrey praised what he called a “very modern user interface” for Spectrum subscribers which is available across multiple platforms including Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, iOS and Android devices, Samsung TVs, PlayStation and desktops.

Charter surprised many in the industry when it added a net 102,000 video subscribers in the second quarter amid continued losses for its competitors. Winfrey reiterated his company’s explanation that the video subscriber additions were a product of huge broadband growth outpacing video losses.

“In this case, because there were so many broadband sales coming through, it had a pull-through effect on video as well. I’m not here to tell you that that’s going to exist forever. Because we’re confident in ourselves, I think we have the ability to outperform the market. But I think the market continues to decline,” he said.

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