Charter loses 71,000 video subscribers in Q4

Another quarter, another Charter Communications earnings report that’s managed to keep video subscribers losses from spiraling out of control.

The cable operator lost 71,000 residential video customers during the fourth quarter but added 13,000 business video customers. The losses accelerated slightly compared to the same quarter of 2021 but matched up favorably to the 105,000 residential subs lost in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The company ended 2021 with 15.833 million video customers—15.216 million residential and 617,000 business.

Charter reported consolidated revenue growth of 4.7% and adjusted EBITDA growth of 7.7% thanks to rapid broadband and mobile revenue expansion helping to offset declines in advertising and elsewhere. Video services contributed $4.4 billion, down only 0.3% year over year.

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The company attributed the slight decline to a higher mix of lower priced video packages within Charter's video customer base, a decline in video customers during the last year and $31 million of sports network credits recorded in the current year period.

Charter has increasingly shifted its video subscribers toward its cheaper Choice, Essentials and Stream packages. But it’s been able to partially offset the impact those slimmer packages have on video ARPUs through promotional rate step-ups and video rate adjustments.

"We continued to execute well in 2021, with solid customer growth and strong financial growth. We added over 1.2 million Internet customers and we grew full year revenue and EBITDA by 7.5% and 11.4%, respectively," said Charter CEO Tom Rutledge in a statement. "In 2022, we remain focused on driving additional customer growth by offering better services while saving customers money on their total communications spend, driving EBITDA growth, free cash flow growth and shareholder value."