Charter's Pay TV Future Is as a "Video Store," CEO Says

Tom Rutledge speaks at The New York Times DealBook Conference - Getty-H 2018
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Charter CEO Tom Rutledge

Tom Rutledge spoke during a virtual Goldman Sachs investor conference.

Cable operator Charter Communications, in which John Malone's Liberty Broadband owns a big stake, sees its pay TV future in the role of a "video store," chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said during a virtual investor conference Wednesday.

Speaking during a session at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, which was webcast, he noted that Charter posted a video subscriber gain in the second quarter, a rarity for the sector. "We have grown video, and our performance in video continues to be good," Rutledge said. "We are up for the year. We are the only, probably, [pay TV operator] in the country that has positive video growth."

He added that it was driven by strong broadband gains, including from satellite TV competitors. Charter had for the second quarter reported that its broadband user growth accelerated amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. "You still have the macro trend of cord-cutting going on," with people having trouble paying for the big bundle, Rutledge said. "We look at our future in video more as a video store," offering "a whole range" of products and services, such as tiers of sports channels, other linear TV services, advertising VOD services and others that are part of an "overall connectivity experience." Concluded the Charter CEO: "That's the fundamental aspect of video that we are interested in."

Rutledge discussed the "continuing decline of satellite video" more, saying it "actually helps us in the marketplace. "As they come loose from their satellite relationships, they are reevaluating their broadband connections as well."