Charter Reports Poor Quarterly Results

Charter Communications ended 2004 with a big thud, posting a much larger quarterly loss, much smaller data gains and a stunning drop in digital video customers. Despite 5% growth in overall revenue, Charter racked up a fourth quarter loss of $340 million, due to higher programming and services costs, greater interest expense and a lower income tax benefit. North America's third largest MSO picked up just 64,500 residential high-speed data subscribers in Q4, down from 108,500 in Q3. For the whole year, it picked up 356,600 cable modem customers to close 2004 with nearly 1.9 million data subscribers. In an unprecedented reversal, Charter also lost 14,200 digital video customers in the fourth quarter, after weak gains earlier in the year. For the full year, the company added just 86,100 digital video subscribers to end 2004 with almost 2.7 million. Finally, Charter gained only 5,200 IP telephony subscribers in Q4 despite an aggressive effort to roll out VoIP service in 2004. The company ended the year with 45,400 telephony subscribers, including a mix of IP and circuit-switched users.
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