Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.
Charter Communications Inc.lost 66,000 video customers in the traditionally tough second quarter, an improvement on the 79,000 video subs it lost in the year-ago quarter. The MSO added 29,000 Internet customers along with 6,000 voice subs in the period. Charter ended the quarter with 4.09 million video subs, 3.66 million high-speed Internet customers and 1.82 million voice subscribers. The operator posted a second-quarter net loss of US$83 million, shaving down a year-ago net loss of $107 million, on revenues of $1.88 billion, up 4.7 percent year-on-year. Charter ended the second quarter with 95 percent of its footprint upgraded to Docsis 3.0, with 88 percent capable of switched digital video (SDV).
An HDMI-connected set-top-on-a-stick from IMJ Corp. of Japan won "Best New Idea" honors at this week's CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo., beating out nine other entries. IMJ's Wi-Fi-capable MG Stick is designed to turn most TV sets with an HDMI port into a broadband-connected "smart" TV that's capable of piping in over-the-top (OTT) video and other OTT applications. IMJ's thumb-drive device comes into view as cable operators continue to develop their own OTT video services and seek out new ways to work with consumer electronics (CE) companies. And the idea of shrinking the set-top box into thumb-drive size isn't IMJ's alone. Roku Inc. , for example, is nearing the launch of its USB-based Streaming Stick in the coming weeks and has already signed on an array of CE partners to support it. (See Roku IDs CE Pals.)
FourthWall Media Inc. has launched a division called MassiveData that provides television audience analytics culled from data-mining technologies, including aggregated return path data. The company, which counts Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Charter Communications Inc. among its customers, already collects "census-level second-by-second" set-top box viewing data from millions of TV viewers, but says the new unit will put that data into formats providing a new set of metrics that can be used by advertisers and their agencies, as well as broadcast and cable networks and pay-TV operators. The company claims the new metrics will not only show historical viewing data, but also help its customers predict which programs and ads will be of the most interest to viewers.
Jefferies & Company Inc. analyst James Kisner has upgraded Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) shares from "Hold" to "Buy," noting that it expects the vendor's solid shipments of Wi-Fi-capable modems and other CPE to continue, and that the company is positioned to start winning deals with Tier 1 cable operators for its Moxi video gateways. He also expects that a "measured" rollout of Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) technology in the near term will limit the risk of port price erosion for Arris's cable modem termination system (CMTS) technology. Kisner's already modeling a 27 percent decline in CMTS port pricing in 2013 and for CMTS gross margins to drop from 54 percent in 2011 to 45 percent in 2012 and 43 percent in 2013. (See CCAP Market Is Cisco's & Arris's to Lose .)