Charter Communications shook up the cord-cutting narrative by adding 102,000 net residential video subscribers in the second quarter.
The surprise growth comes after Charter had lost video subscribers in each of its previous four quarters, including a net loss of 150,000 residential video subscribers in the same quarter last year. The positive swing for Charter comes as Comcast reported a net loss of 477,000 video subscribers and AT&T reported a net loss of 886,000 premium video subscribers in the same quarter.
Charter ended the second quarter with 15.65 million residential video customers, down just 0.9% from where the total stood one year ago.
The cable operator said its total residential and SMB customer relationships increased by 755,000 during the second quarter, thanks largely to 850,000 new residential and SMB high-speed internet customers. That likely helped lead to a 17% year over year increase in double play customers.
"Our ability to grow our services this year for new and existing customers, is a testament to our operating strategy, the quality of our products and our significant investment in systems and people over the last several years," said Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge in a statement. "We continue to perform in a difficult and disruptive environment, and all of us at Charter are proud of our work in serving the communities in which we operate."
While Charter’s video subscriber growth surprisingly trended upward, the company’s second quarter revenue per residential customer (excluding mobile) totaled $110.82, down 1.2% year over year. The company said some of that had to do with the waiver of overdue customer balances for customers offered protection following Charter's participation in the FCC's Keep Americans Connected Pledge. However, the company also partly attributed it to a higher percentage of non-video customers and a higher mix of lower priced video packages within Charter's video customer base.
Charter’s second-quarter revenue grew 3.1% year over year to $11.7 billion, driven by residential revenue growth of 4.1%, mobile revenue growth of 96.1% and SMB revenue growth of 2%. Second quarter adjusted EBITDA of $4.5 billion grew by 7.3% year over year.