Cable operator Charter Communications exceeded Wall Street estimates for third-quarter earnings but fell short of revenue targets, sending shares down in early trading.
The company reported revenue of $10.9 billion, which climbed 4.2% from the year-ago quarter but came up short of the consensus for $10.96 billion. Earnings hit $2.11 a share, doubling Wall Street forecasts.
With 16.1 million residential video customers, Charter is the No. 2 cable operator. It vaulted to that spot by acquiring Time Warner Cable and Bright House, paying nearly $90 billion for the two rivals in 2016. Like its pay-TV peers AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, its subscriber trends are under the microscope as investors track shifts in video viewing. Charter said it shed 66,000 residential video subscribers in the quarter, an improvement from the 104,000 lost in the year-ago quarter.
“At the end of 2018, our integration of legacy Time Warner Cable and Bright House will be largely complete and we will operate as a single company, with a superior product and value proposition,” said CEO Tom Rutledge. “With significantly less customer-facing change in 2019, we expect continued improving service metrics with higher demand and retention, faster growth and falling capital intensity, driving meaningful free cash flow growth.”
One bright spot for all linear MVPDs is that they are also in the broadband business, and business is good. Charter added 266,000 internet subscribers in the quarter, a 6% improvement over the prior-year quarter and ahead of Wall Street estimates.
Shares in Charter declined 6% this morning to $295.38.