Maxx impact: TWC residential video sub losses dropped 75% in Q4 to 38K

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) reported strong fourth-quarter residential subscriber metrics, highlighted by residential video declines that slowed by 75 percent to just 38,000.

Overall, TWC gained 54,000 residential customers in Q4, adding 168,000 residential high-speed Internet subscribers and 295,000 residential voice subs during the period, the latter being an all-time fourth-quarter mark for the company. The MSO also added 273,000 triple play customers, another Q4 best.

New York-based TWC reported a revenue increase of 3.8 percent for the quarter to $579 million and narrowly missing investor forecasts on earnings per share of $2.09.

TWC CEO Rob Marcus attributed the increased subscriber relationships to improvements in technology and customer service, reporting an 18 percent decline in customer trouble calls in Q4. TWC, for example, finished rollouts of DOCSIS 3.0-based Maxx broadband services in New York and Los Angeles during the quarter.

With both AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) reporting decreases in video subscriber growth, Marcus conceded that TWC was more competitive in markets in which TWC has overlap with the telecoms.

"We did do well in U-verse markets. We did well in FiOS markets, too," he said.

Marcus delivered his Q4 address to investors Thursday as numerous investors began to ponder the increasingly real possibility that the Federal Communications Commission ultimately will reject TWC's $45 billion purchase by Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

Marcus, however, would not indulge this speculation, noting that TWC is still operating as if the merger is an inevitability. The company did not deliver full 2015 guidance or a dividend--as it usually does in its Q4 report--in preparation of a deal closure it still expects to occur in the first half of this year.

When asked about Dish Network's (NASDAQ: DISH) disruptive new OTT service, Sling TV, Marcus struck a dismissive tone that mirrored that expressed by Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) during its Q3 call last spring--TWC supports the notion of stripped-down programming bundles, but it believes its base content packages offer customers more and render Sling TV not so special.

While coy, Marcus was more effusive when the subject of Cablevision's new Wi-Fi calling service, Freewheel, was brought up. "Using Wi-fi as a component of a voice product is pretty intriguing," he said.

For more:
- read this TWC earnings release

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