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Time Warner Cable lost record 306,000 subscribers amid CBS blackout

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Time Warner Cable logo (1020)
Time Warner Cable logo (1020)

Time Warner Cable's (TWC) subscriber count fell dramatically amid the month-long blackout that kept CBS off the air. In its Q3 2013 earnings, the cable provider reveals that it lost 306,000 TV subscribers from July through September, a huge change from last year's Q3 loss of just 29,000 subscribers. According to The New York Times, it's TWC's steepest quarterly loss of TV subscribers ever. TWC specifically notes the dispute with CBS as having negatively impacted its subscriber activity, though it doesn't speak more specifically to the matter. It also says that it spent more on marketing because of the dispute, and that it had to issue $15 million worth of credit to Showtime subscribers who lost service during the blackout.

Net income fell over $270 million

Net income also dropped significantly for TWC to $532 million, down from $808 million in this quarter last year. And despite the cable provider's protest against CBS, its average monthly cost of programming per subscriber rose 8.4 percent year over year, coming in at $34.10 per month. TWC says this was due to increases in the cost of carrying programming and the fact that it's been picking up new networks to carry. The Times notes that TWC losing some customers isn't surprising though, as many cable companies have been losing small numbers of subscribers every quarter for several years now.

While TWC's third quarter results may not be thrilling for investors, the cable provider will be undergoing a leadership change shortly, when its CEO, Glenn Britt, retires at the end of the year. Britt will be replaced by Rob Marcus, who currently serves as TWC's chief operating officer. "We have tremendous opportunity ahead," Britt says in a statement, "and I have full confidence in Rob and his team."