Time Warner Cable CEO Targets TV Sub Growth in 2015, Talks Comcast Deal

Rob Marcus - H 2014
AP Images

Rob Marcus - H 2014

Rob Marcus also discusses cord cutting, new online-only video services and competition from Google

Time Warner Cable is targeting to grow its video subscribers next year and expects to close its sale to Comcast early in 2015, CEO Rob Marcus told an investor conference on Monday.

Speaking at the 42nd annual UBS ‎Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, he said he was happy with how the company was performing and said October and November continued to see stronger overall subscriber trends, as has been the case most of the year.

He said the company has outpaced 2012 subscriber trends this year, saying he prefers not to compare trends to 2013.

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Comcast, led by chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, has repeatedly said it expects its deal to acquire Time Warner Cable to be approved in early 2015 after originally eyeing a regulatory decision by year's end. The FCC recently paused its review before restarting it. Comcast is the largest U.S. cable operator, followed by TWC.

Some sort of cord cutting is happening, but it doesn't have as big an effect on the pay TV business as losing subscribers to competitors, Marcus also said on Monday.

And he said TWC is not scared of new online-only video service offers. "We think we can compete, frankly, with any variation of the video theme," he said.

Streaming video services, such as ones announced by HBO, CBS and Sony, can only benefit cable operators' broadband services and demand for them, the TWC CEO also said.

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Asked about smaller pay TV packages that TWC has offered to attract price-sensitive consumers, Marcus said that business hasn't really gained much traction. "It didn't really ever blossom," he said. But he said that doesn't mean the idea isn't viable, adding it may just need to be executed differently.

Questioned about Google's plan to roll out a fiber video service in Austin, Tex., Marcus said he was ready to take on the new competitor.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai