Light Reading
Power outage in Los Angeles during the Super Bowl broadcast represents the latest in a series of embarrassments for Time Warner Cable.

TWC: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Alan Breznick
2/3/2014
50%
50%

It's hard not to feel a bit sorry for Time Warner Cable these days, as the beleaguered MSO keeps running into new walls or tripping over its own wires.

Although it's still the second largest cable operator in the Western Hemisphere, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has definitely lost its aura of invincibility over the last few months. Just like an old boxing champ who has taken one too many shots to the head, the MSO appears to be staggering about as it struggles to stay on its feet in the ring.

In the latest indignity to befall it, TW Cable suffered an embarrassing power outage in its sprawling Los Angeles system during the Super Bowl broadcast late Sunday afternoon. The outage, which lasted more than 70 minutes, knocked out the standard-definition digital feed from KTTV, the local Fox station carrying the NFL championship game.

As a result, TWC's SD digital subscribers didn't get to watch the half-time show staged by Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. SD viewers also missed parts of the second and third quarters of the matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, which quickly turned into a Seahawks rout.

Fortunately for TWC and its Los Angeles subscribers, the outage did not interrupt service for the MSO's HD viewers. Nor did it affect cable viewers watching the Spanish language telecast on Fox Deportes.

But the outage, which TW Cable blamed on an unexplained "technical issue" with KTTV's SD feed, came at precisely the wrong time and in the wrong place for the cable giant. Not only did it occur during the Super Bowl, the most watched telecast of the year, but it occurred in one of the two biggest markets that the MSO serves. Plus, the outage occurred just three days after TWC unveiled ambitious plans to transform its New York and Los Angeles cable systems into showcases of advanced technology and consumer service later this year. Oy!

Of course, it could have been worse. The outage could have affected HD subscribers too and taken place in the even bigger New York market, TWC's hometown. And it could have happened during a close, exciting game, rather than a boring blowout. But that's still small consolation the day after the game, when media headlines across the nation are blaring about the lost video feed in Southern California.

Moreover, the Super Bowl fadeout comes just five months after TW Cable suffered through a public relations trashing by CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) over retransmission-consent fees just before the start of the football season late last summer. That bitter losing battle led to probably the worst operating period in the MSO's history, as it shed more than 300,000 video, 100,000 voice, and 24,000 broadband subscribers in the third quarter and entered the fall reeling like a drunk. (See TW Cable Hemorrhages Subs.)

Plus, the video outage comes just weeks after Charter Communications Inc. officials gave their TWC counterparts an extremely rare dressing-down in public. In their zeal to prove that they could manage TWC's assets better than the company's own executives, Charter officials ripped into TWC's "failed operating strategy" and labeled it "a turnaround project," among other derogatory statements. And TWC had to endure all this trash talk from a much smaller cable operator that went bankrupt less than six years earlier and teetered on the threshold of a breakup itself for several years. (See Charter Goes Over TWC's Head.)

So, if the old TWC swagger seems gone these days, it's certainly understandable. At the company's Columbus Circle headquarters, it's not about pride right now, it's about survival.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/4/2014 | 1:23:16 PM
Re: Goodbye Columbus
This may be more a case of neglectful (and maybe worse) parenting on the part of Time Warner. The cable operation is one manifestation of a broader problem -- a company that got into too many things and ended up doing very few of them well. It has a familiar ring, and it's a mistake that usually doesn't get learned from.
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
2/4/2014 | 12:30:08 PM
Re: Goodbye Columbus
Oy. That's midtown in name only. They might as well just move to Jersey then and have great views of midtown. 
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/4/2014 | 9:05:08 AM
Re: Goodbye Columbus
I feel like the decline has been in the works for some time, only recently come to light courtesy of Charter. It probably began in earnest in 2009 when they decided to try and force everybody onto unreasonably low cap and overage data plans, then had to backtrack. It was compounded by the fact they were timind in deploying DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades despite the relative inexpensiveness of the upgrades. They've been writing this mediocre book for a while now.

Now finally they promise real upgrades, but will likely be acquired before those upgrades even arrive. Good job all around I guess.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/3/2014 | 7:26:09 PM
Re: Goodbye Columbus
Technically, TW will still be in midtown -- but opposite the Javits Gulag.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/3/2014 | 6:51:41 PM
Re: Goodbye Columbus
TWC never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. 
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
2/3/2014 | 6:09:58 PM
Re: Goodbye Columbus
Yep. Thanks, Dennis. I forgot about that one. Another comedown for the once-proud MSO. Don'tthink the Jersey views will make up for the midtown exodus. 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/3/2014 | 6:07:31 PM
Goodbye Columbus
FYI, Time Warner announced a week or so ago that it is selling the Time Warner Center and moving to a location nearer the Hudson River. The views of New Jersey will be even more spectacular.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Breznick Unbound
As expected, US cable broadband subscribers pass cable video subs for the first time in latest report from Leichtman Research Group.
While the No. 2 US MSO is accelerating plans for all-digital video and broadband speed upgrades, it's still desperately playing catch-up.
In yet another attempt to conquer the TV set, Google is launching its Android TV operating system for the big video screen. But will it succeed where other attempts have failed?
In the latest edition of its Visual Networking Index (VNI) study, Cisco forecasts that HD and Ultra HD video will account for nearly two-thirds of all IP video traffic by 2018.
Seven new cable products take the stage this year, covering a wide range of the technology spectrum.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
The Next-Gen Network Disconnect

10|29|14   |   01:23   |   (0) comments


There's a lot of talk about making networks more simple with SDN, NFV and next-gen broadband technology – but what about the complexity of introducing such capabilities?
LRTV Custom TV
Grow Your VPN Service Revenue

10|27|14   |   4:00   |   (0) comments


Watch how CSP product managers can better differentiate and maximize the value of their Internet, VPN and cloud services for business services customers, by adding premium application performance visibility to their data services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Add SmartSense to Make Your Network Ready for 4K

10|27|14   |   3:23   |   (0) comments


To make current networks ready for the coming 4K TV challenges, Huawei SmartSense solution will conveniently add experience and operation capabilities to boost telcos' future business.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
NetMatrix: Orchestrate the SDN & NFV World

10|27|14   |   4:11   |   (0) comments


Orchestrator is important in SDN/NFV world to make Telcom network automate, open and efficient. NetMatrix, as Huawei SDN/NFV orchestrator solution, has been in deployment and is showing its' value in real scenarios.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei FusionSphere Enabling ICT Transformation

10|27|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


Jeffrey Gao, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of Huawei West Europe Region, talks about the company's future-oriented cloud strategy. Huawei is providing full portfolio of IT architecture and building an open cloud ecosystem with innovative cloud OS FusionSphere to support customers' ICT transformation.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partner Interview: StorIT

10|27|14   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


An interview with Suren Vendantham of StorIT, a value-added distributor for Huawei in the Middle East region.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partner Interview: Optimus

10|27|14   |   3:14   |   (0) comments


An interview with Nehul Goradia of Optimus, a value-added distributor for Huawei in the Middle East.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partner Interview: Enterprise Solutions

10|27|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


An interview with Pouya Parsafar of Enterprise Solutions, a valued distributor partner with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Customer Interview: OETC

10|27|14   |   2:35   |   (0) comments


An interview with Saif Albadi, of the Oman Electricity Transmissions Company, a government utility in that company that partners with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Customer Interview: Jannah Hotels & Resorts

10|27|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


An interview with Nehmeh Darwish, CEO of Jannah Hotel & Resorts, about his collaboration with Huawei across five hotels in the United Arab Emirates.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Commitment to the Middle East: GITEX 2014 Wrap-up

10|27|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Highlights from the Huawei pavilion at GITEX in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with interviews with current Huawei customers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei: GITEX 2014 Day 1 Highlights

10|27|14   |   2:58   |   (0) comments


Highlights from the Huawei pavilion at GITEX (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition), an annual computer and electronics trade show and conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
AT&T: Merger Review Halt Won't Hurt Us
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 10/23/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Roku Raises $25M, But for What?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed