Charter Communications CFO on Broadband and Deals – The Hollywood Reporter


Broadband internet is “absolutely still a growing business,” cable giant Charter Communications’ chief financial officer told an investor conference on Wednesday.

“There is a lot of potential to continue to grow” beyond expanding the company’s broadband footprint, Jessica Fischer told Credit Suisse Communications’ 24th Annual Conference in a broadcast session on the Web. She touted cable broadband infrastructure as superior to many rivals, adding that where there was competitive technology, Charter could be successful in offering “differentiating” products, such as mobile services.

Asked about broadband subscriber trends in the second quarter, including investor concerns that some companies could lose broadband customers on a net basis during the period, Fischer acknowledged a particular challenge for customers. moving from the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). ), the new FCC benefits program that subsidizes Internet services.

A “small portion of subsidized subscribers” either did not choose to continue their service and switch to CPA or did not meet CPA requirements, specifically that they use the service every 30 days, she said. Charter expects this to have a total impact of 60,000 to 70,000 subscribers in the second quarter. Excluding this impact, “we expect positive total net internet additions in the quarter, and I believe we will have positive total net additions even including” the impact, Charter’s chief financial officer said.

The executive was also asked about a major partnership with another cable giant, Comcast. Together with Charter, it recently unveiled a joint venture that aims to “develop and deliver a next-generation streaming platform across a variety of branded 4K streaming devices and smart TVs.” The goal is to build on Comcast’s streaming product Flex to give consumers a platform to access multiple streaming apps and, in doing so, take aim at rivals like Roku. Comcast is offering the Flex Casting Device free to Internet subscribers only to allow them to stream on-demand TV shows and movies, as well as live content. Above all, it allows users more than 250 apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Discovery+ and “tens of thousands of free choices from Peacock, Xumo, Pluto, Tubi and more. The new venture also promises to offer app developers, streamers, retailers and hardware manufacturers “the ability to reach customers in major markets nationwide with the platform,” the companies said.

“This could end up being a Roku killer,” said Ian Greenblatt, managing director of TMT (technology, media and telecommunications) intelligence at JD Power recently. THR. “It offers a great way to let consumers shave the cord and retain the interface they prefer, while enabling the monetization of another platform’s ad inventory and resulting data.”

Fischer touted that the venture brought together two cable companies with an “aptitude for the (content) aggregation side” and strong consumer interactions. “Our opportunity to achieve scale there, and to do it fairly quickly, is very good,” she said, adding that the deal was “consistent” with Charter’s pay-TV strategy of provide consumers with various options. “We’ve been declining more slowly than some of our peers on the video side,” she said.

What does she think of mergers and acquisitions? “We love the cable business,” Fischer said. “If we can find opportunities where we can create … value for our shareholders by making acquisitions (at accretive prices), I think we will continue to do so.” She added that she hoped that “there might be private companies that are under more pressure to sell than they were before”, concluding: “If they are available, I think we will go there .”


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