Earnings reports

Cox Bundles Up

With real winter weather finally hitting most of the U.S., Cox Communications Inc. is definitely taking pleasure in bundling up.

In its own quiet way, Cox, the nation's fourth largest MSO, boasts that it ended 2006 with 3.4 million customers taking at least two of its cable services, up nearly 15 percent from a year earlier. The company says about 60 percent of its 5.4 million basic cable customers now subscribe to at least one other main service, while 60 percent of its new subscribers now take phone service and/or high-speed data service.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the company's launch of its original triple-play offering, Cox President Patrick Esser says bundling has helped reduce customer churn to a record low. He's counting on the introduction of a fourth major service, wireless, to make Cox's bundles even more popular over the next year or two. "There's no question about it -- the bundle is our best offense and defense," he says.

In its year-end summary report released Tuesday, privately owned Cox also brags that it closed 2006 with a record 448,666 non-video customers, up 20 percent from a year earlier. This figure means that non-video customers now account for more than seven percent of the company's 5.9 million-subscriber total.

In addition, Cox ended last year with 3.3 million cable modem subscribers, up 16 percent from the close of 2005, and slightly more than 2 million phone customers, up 21 percent from a year earlier. But note that these are both pro forma growth rates because Cox sold off some cable systems in 2006, reducing its overall size.

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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