Do home Internet service subscribers want faster data speeds at lower prices? The answer to that question might seem obvious to most people, but many Internet service providers in the U.S. are still not convinced of the directions service speeds and prices should be heading. When they’re not busy concocting painfully and embarrassingly awful anti-cord cutting campaigns, ISPs are hard at work trying to figure out how to strike a perfect balance between providing the quality of service their subscribers want and raking in the kind of revenue growth their shareholders demand. Regardless of how they approach the situation, it seems odd to even question whether or not customers want faster service — but as noted by a pair of recent reports, that’s exactly what Time Warner Cable has just done once again. More →
As Time Warner Cable continues to fend off potential offers from Charter and Comcast, its TV subscribers are fleeing at a rapid pace. The Wall Street Journal reports that TWC lost 825,000 TV users in 2013, which amounts to almost 7% of its entire customer base. Although 217,000 of those users left in the fourth quarter, the biggest portion of losses came in Q3, when CBS was blacked out for an entire month in major markets. More →
Don’t worry, American consumers: the death of net neutrality is no big deal and it won’t harm your online experience at all. That’s the takeaway from the various responses U.S. Internet service providers offered up to the public following Tuesday’s U.S. appeals court ruling that killed net neutrality rules. Some believe the ruling will ultimately lead to the destruction of the Internet as we know it today, giving service providers free rein to squeeze money out of companies looking to give their services an edge by allotting them additional bandwidth that standard service will not enjoy. But according to companies such as Comcast and Verizon, that won’t be the case at all. More →
After months of rumors that the company was on the tablet, it looks like a deal may soon be reached for Time Warner Cable. According to a report from Bloomberg, Charter Communications will seek to acquire Time Warner Cable for $132.50 per share, pending approvals of course. The deal will see Charter pay $83 per share of Time Warner Cable, plus $49.50 per share in Charter stock. “Charter today sent a letter to Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Officer Rob Marcus, explaining why the company’s offer is beneficial for shareholders,” Bloomberg’s Alex Sherman reported. “Charter is attempting to acquire Time Warner Cable, a company with an enterprise value more than twice Charter’s size, to create a provider of TV, Internet and phone for about 20 million customers in 38 states. Rutledge said he last proposed an offer in late December, around Christmas, which Marcus rejected.”
Amid Charter merger chatter, Time Warner Cable recently played nice during content negotiations with multiple programmers in a move that’s likely related to trying to reduce the number of subscribers leaving the service, The Wall Street Journal reports. Time Warner Cable has apparently changed its negotiation tactics with multiple companies including Viacom, Tribune Co, Discovery Communications, Univision Communications and A+ E Networks. More →
What’s the opposite of a Christmas miracle? How about a merger between two of the largest cable providers in the United States? Bloomberg reports that Charter, previously rumored to be in the running for a buyout of Time Warner Cable, is drafting an offer letter that it could send out as early as next week to acquire TWC for under $140 per share. According to Bloomberg’s source, “the offer will include cash and Charter stock.” The FCC has already hinted that it would reject Comcast’s bid to try to buy Time Warner Cable, so it’s hard to imagine Charter will be any more successful. Comcast is not a part of this deal, despite previous reports of a joint offer, but the company is watching closely to see how the situation develops.
Like a good exorcist, the Federal Communications Commission looks set to drive back the merger sent from hell. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai says that the FCC is very unlikely to sign off on any proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable because the Obama administration has shown itself much less likely to approve major telecom mergers — such as the blocked AT&T-T-Mobile merger — than a Republican administration might be. A merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast, which are the two largest cable providers in the United States, would further consolidate an industry that is already uncompetitive in many major markets. In addition to Comcast, smaller cable provider Charter has also been rumored to be interested in buying up Time Warner Cable.
It looks like the cord-cutting phenomenon is finally getting big cable companies’ attention. Variety reports that Time Warner Cable “is now marketing a low-cost bundle that includes a limited bunch of TV channels and HBO” that is “aimed at ‘cord nevers’ and others who aren’t interested in paying for a typical lineup of cable channels.” The new package, dubbed “Starter TV with HBO,” will be priced at $29.99 per month for the first year and “does not include a set-top box fees or other charges.” More →
Longtime readers know that I’ve been very critical of both Comcast and Time Warner Cable over their pricing policies, their service quality and their overall business practices. This is why I gasped in horror when I learned Friday morning that Comcast is talking with the Federal Communications Commission about what regulatory hurdles it needs to cross to merge with Time Warner Cable. More →
If there’s one thing that Americans have been clamoring for, it’s fewer choices when it comes to cable providers. CNBC reports that Comcast has been asking the Federal Communications Commission about the regulatory hurdles it might face if it tries to buy Time Warner Cable in a massive merger that would turn America’s two largest cable companies into an even bigger behemoth. While Time Warner Cable is apparently listening to several suitors’ offers, CNBC’s sources say that the company would prefer to be bought out by Comcast over any other competitor. More →
Cord cutting is accelerating at Time Warner Cable. Per The New York Times, Time Warner Cable reported that it lost 306,000 pay television subscribers last quarter, a record number that the company blames in part on its feud with CBS. Although both Time Warner Cable and Comcast have both been steadily losing pay TV subscribers, last quarter’s drop of over 300,000 is far and away the largest quarterly loss of any major American cable company we’ve seen this year. Cable companies have been struggling to hold onto pay TV customers who are now more likely to rely on their broadband connections to watch TV by streaming through Netflix and Hulu.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em… and if your cohorts can’t crush ‘em in court, crush ‘em in the market. Aereo is a streaming television service that has made a lot of waves recently. The pay service allows subscribers in certain regions to stream a handful of channels to PCs, smartphones and tablets for $8 per month. And according to broadcasters, Aereo is stealing their content. Aereo is being sued by several broadcasters including CBS, which alleges that the company is stealing its content and transmitting it over the Internet to subscribers. Aereo has not yet been shut down by these suits, however, and now major service providers including DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are planning to launch similar services of their own in the event Aereo prevails in court, Bloomberg reports. More →
As the producer of the world’s most pirated television show, you might think that HBO would be very eager to crack down on illegal streaming of Game of Thrones. However, the company has been surprisingly sanguine about all the BitTorrent users around the world who illegally watch its hit show every week. Now Business Insider reports that Time Warner, Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes said recently that Game of Thrones piracy is a net positive for HBO because it creates more word-of-mouth excitement and it gives HBO more new subscribers than it takes away. More →