Cable was once again the shining jewel in Time Warner’s earnings, with Dick Parsons proclaiming that the unit delivered "our best 2Q in memory in terms of subscriber momentum." Especially noteworthy was the MSO’s addition of 242K VoIP subs-well above analyst estimates and 60% above 1Q phone adds. Sanford Bernstein’s Craig Moffett was jazzed about what TW’s VoIP performance may mean for Comcast, declaring that the Philadelphia-based MSO’s ’05 and ’06 VoIP guidance looks conservative. Moffett estimates that TW is adding VoIP subs at an annualized rate of 968K. TW’s subscriber momentum continued with an impressive 201K HSD adds-a figure that was likely helped by VoIP, as more than 70% of TW’s digital phone customers also subscribe to video and HSD. In fact, VoIP may have had a role in all of the sub metrics. TW gained 144K digital subs in the Q, and even basic cable losses were marginal, adding up to just 5K in what’s known to be a season quarter. "This year churn is at the lowest level we’ve seen in years," said Don Logan, chmn of TW’s media and comm group. Switched Digital: TW’s completed technical trials of switched digital video in its Austin division, and it plans to roll out the tech across its footprint over the next couple years. As for its "Start Over" service, it expects technical trials in Columbia, SC, to broaden to full service trials this fall. Start Over lets subs return to the beginning of a program at any time during its timeslot. Programming Costs: TW recorded a 14% increase in video programming costs-including a $14mln charge related to the "resolution of certain contractual agreements." It didn’t elaborate further. TW Overall: The cable unit’s stellar results weren’t enough to offset disappointing results for parent Time Warner Inc. It posted a net loss of $321mln vs a profit of $777mln a year ago. Revenue fell 1% to $10.74bln. Cable networks didn’t help much, with profits falling 4%, primarily due to higher programming costs. The company took a $3bln charge in the Q to settle shareholder lawsuits over past accounting woes. It has reached a tentative settlement with the lead plaintiffs.

The Daily


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