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Time Warner Cable shares climb

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Shares of Time Warner Cable rose today after the Triangle's largest pay-TV provider reported stronger financial results and announced plans to buy back $4 billion of its stock.

The company is selling more services to its existing customers, helping offset the loss of some cable-TV subscribers.

Nationally, Time Warner Cable added 104,000 broadband subscribers, but lost 155,000 video subscribers. The company blamed increasing competition from phone and satellite TV providers, and the economy.

CEO Glenn Britt said the company is considering a "value" cable-TV package to win back some of the budget-focused households it's losing.

“We’re performing well financially, despite the economic and competitive climate,” said Britt in a statement. The company has seen better subscriber trends in the fourth quarter.

Time Warner Cable officials said they haven't seen any evidence that consumers are "cord-cutting" and shifting to getting TV over the Internet. Lost customers are mostly defecting to rival pay-TV companies or giving it up entirely.

Time Warner Cable has about 2.1 million customers in the Carolinas, including 830,000 in the region from Raleigh to the coast. It also employs about 1,600 people in the Triangle, mostly at its regional headquarters in Morrisville.

For the quarter, net income rose 34 percent to $360 million, or $1 a share, from $268 million, or 76 cents a share, bolstered by higher monthly bills, an increase in high-speed Internet subscribers, and a boost in advertising sales.

Sales gained 5.2 percent to $4.73 billion.

Subscription revenue rose 4.5 percent to $4.5 billion, as Time Warner Cable increased prices and more users elected high-speed Internet and premium services such as digital video recorders.

Time Warner Cable shares rose $2.67 to $62.33 today and are up more than 50 percent this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Endless money stream

Time Warner cable has the keys to an endless money stream. Anytime they need to generate profits, which is every year, they simply raise the rates. There are no debates, no arguments, no nothing. You simply receive a notice that your rates have increased.

For example, this past year they raised the rates on the cable boxes and remotes. Spread across their viewership means more money for them without providing any real new technology.

Next year we will hear the familiar reframe that they have been in a fight with content providers and to help out their viewership and to keep costs down, they will need to fight the providers. Of course, the fight costs money and hence they will raise our rates. They have raised the rates every year that I have been with them. The great globakl economic recession did not prevent them from raising their rates.

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About the blogger

Assistant Business Editor Alan M. Wolf joined the N&O in 1999 covering the business of health care. He became an editor in 2001, and helps oversee the paper's daily business coverage and Sunday Work&Money section. He lives in Clayton with his wife and two children. Reach him at 919-829-4572 or e-mail him.
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