Mike Farrell

Charter's Digital Platforms Chief Discusses the Company's Digital Strategy and Spectrum TV App

As executive VP of digital platforms at Charter Communications, Jodi Robinson is the go-to digital chieftain at the cable company, leading its video product management, customer self-service platforms, internal design agency and its data platforms organization. A graduate of Stanford University, Robinson joined Charter in 2014 as senior Vice President. She has led its digital platforms organization since 2019 and its user experience design and development organization since joining the company.

Get Ready for an Even Slower Broadband Slowdown

The slowdown in cable broadband subscriber additions may be even slower than anticipated after executives at two of the top three publicly traded cable companies -- Comcast and Altice USA -- hinted that customer growth is trending at an even more decelerated pace than expected. Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said he expected to end 2021 with 1.3 million additional broadband subscribers.

Charter CEO Says Cable Mobile Service Pricing Could Drop Further

Just weeks after Charter Communications slashed prices for its Spectrum Mobile offering to $29.99 per month, chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said charges for wireless cable offerings could drop further as the cost to provide service continues to decline. “I think the mobile opportunity is very similar to the wireline opportunity that existed 15 years ago,” Rutledge said. “[Mobile]'s got its own complexities, but the opportunity is there to create value for consumers. Consumers actually save money and we make money. That’s a pretty attractive business model that is available to us.

Cable One Buys Cable America Missouri for $113 Million

Cable One has purchased Cable America Missouri, a small broadband and cable operator with about 14,000 customers in rural areas in the central part of the state, for about $113 million in cash. Cable One CEO Julie Laulis said the Cable America properties are close to markets the company purchased in 2019 with its buy of Fidelity Communications. “Due to its adjacency to our Fidelity markets as well as alignment with culture, growth and competitive profile, we expect Cable America to be an excellent fit to our growing family of brands,” Laulis said.

The broadband apocalypse is not near

Charter Communications’ dismal Q3 broadband subscriber performance — it missed analysts’ consensus growth estimates by nearly 30 percent — may seem like the harbinger of bad things to come, but influential analyst Craig Moffett believes that the real culprit in the slowdown may be sluggish household formation. Moffett said that while the quick reaction is that the growth phase has ended for cable’s most important product, he believes it is tied to declining new household formation.

Broadband Slowdown Won’t Be So Slow

Evercore ISI media analyst Vijay Jayant predicts that while Q3 broadband subscriber increases will be lower than they have been in the past few quarters, it won’t be that dramatic of a decline. This comes just as cable operators are preparing to release their Q3 results. Comcast is expected first out of the gate, with its Q3 earnings report due on October 28, followed by Charter (Oct 29), Altice USA (Nov 4) and Cable One (Nov 4).

Bernstein's Peter Supino Says Telephone Companies Better Positioned to Chip Away at Cable's Broadband Lead

While cable operators grapple with the slowdown of broadband subscriber additions expected in the third quarter and beyond, Bernstein media analyst Peter Supino said that telephone companies, long the butt of jokes about the sluggish speeds and poor service inherent in their core digital subscriber line (DSL) service, have streamlined operations and are positioning themselves to take back significant market share. Supino pointed to AT&T’s spinoff of DirecTV

Broadband Slowdown Forces Analyst to Go Negative on Cable Sector

Fueled by the slowdown of broadband subscriber additions, Wells Fargo media analyst Steven Cahall estimates that as penetration rates rise and DSL competition sputters, the cable sector could be entering a period of diminished profitability. Most cable operators have warned that subscriber additions would be lower as pandemic lockdowns disappeared and workers returned to their offices. But adding to the pressure is increased penetration of homes with annual household incomes above $25,000 — now at about 100 percent — and the continued slide of digital subscriber line (DSL) service.

Wireless subscriber growth and providers' promotional offerings are off the charts

Wireless subscriber growth has been off the charts in 2021, with second-quarter increases nearing records as mobile service providers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile blanket the market with free offerings. But as subscriber numbers have surged, those new customers are a volatile bunch, meaning the industry may soon have to decide whether to keep heavy promotions going just to maintain the status quo or risk losing them by turning off the promotional spigot.

After a Strong 2021, Cable’s Broadband Trajectory Could Reverse in 2022

Cable operators are poised to report another strong year of broadband subscriber growth in 2021 on the heels of last year’s record-breaking increases, but growth could slow substantially in 2022. The momentum from 2020—where cable operators added 4 million broadband customers— should continue into 2021 as the impact from stimulus programs to boost household income and government broadband subsidy efforts should keep churn low.