Time Warner Cable television subscribers were up by 54,000 in the last quarter of 2015, reversing a general decline in video customers. The fourth quarter gain compares to average losses of 115,000 in the same quarter over the last 8 years. In 2015 the cable company gained 32,000 residential television subscribers and a million broadband customers.
Rob Marcus, the chairman and chief executive of Time Warner Cable said: “I’m incredibly proud of everything we achieved this quarter and in 2015. We made our network more reliable, our products more compelling and our customer service better. And, importantly, our subscriber improvement over the last eight quarters, including our record subscriber performance in 2015, has begun to show up in our financial results.”
In 2015, Time Warner Cable deployed 10.5 million new set-top boxes, digital adapters and advanced modems.
Annual video revenues for 2015 were down 0.9% to $9.9 billion, partially offset by an increase in average revenue per subscriber, primarily the result of growth in video equipment rental and premium network revenue and higher transactional video-on-demand. Internet revenues were up 10% to $7.0 billion. Total revenue was up 2.8% to just under $19.0 billion.
The gain in subscribers is relatively modest compared to longer-term losses. In 2015, Time Warner Cable lost customers in two quarters and gained in the first and fourth quarter, with a net gain of 32,000.
In the last 8 years, the cable company has lost 2.43 million television customers, declining from 13.25 million to 10.82 million, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index.
Time Warner Cable gained 673,000 video subscribers in the first quarter of 2012, through the acquisition of Insight Communications. Otherwise, the quarterly increases in 2015 are the first organic gains since the first quarter of 2009.
It remains to be seen whether the gain in the last quarter of 2015 represents a real turnaround, but it goes against the grain of the popular view of cord-cutting. It may demonstrate that cable companies simply need to focus more on improving the customer experience if they are to retain and even gain customers.