Time Warner Cable First-Quarter Profit Rises 18 Percent

Sylvain Gaboury/PatrickMcMullan.com/Sipa Press/Newscom

UPDATED: The cable giant once again reported a decline in residential video subscribers, but CEO Glenn Britt said the impact of not carrying sports network MSG for a while was "amazingly" small.

Time Warner Cable on Thursday reported improved first-quarter financials, but said it lost 94,000 residential video subscribers to end March with about 12.47 million. 

In the year-ago period, it had lost 42,000 subscribers.

First-quarter earnings of $383 million rose 18 percent from $326 million in the year-ago period. Revenue for the quarter increased 6.4 percent to $5.1 billion, in part driven by acquisitions. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations.

The cable giant added 214,000 broadband users and 112,000 telephony users in the latest period.

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said: “Time Warner Cable's first quarter results reflect continued strong performance, and residential Internet and business services were standouts.”

Second-quarter subscriber trends are similar to the year-ago period, but video subscriber momentum is weaker, management said during an earnings conference call.

Asked about the subscriber impact in the first quarter of not having sports network MSG for a while amid Jeremy Lin's undefeated NBA run with the New York Knicks due to a carriage dispute, Britt said there was "some impact," but it was "amazingly little" and "hugely less than you would think."

Asked about Aereo, which broadcasters have tried to block in court because it offers Web streams of their over-the-air broadcasts, he said it was "a very interesting idea" that TWC was looking at. If courts find it to be legal, it could be "a very interesting thing," Britt said.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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