Earnings come despite subscriber losses

Time Warner Cable shares are down a little more than 1% in afternoon trading, as the conglom’s Q1 earnings were a bit of a mixed bag: On the one hand, the company lost about 119,000 video subscribers from the prior quarter, although profits rose 5%, driven largely by business services revenue growth of 25%.

In an analyst call on Thursday, TW Cable execs emphasized the steps the company has taken to retain customers, streamline business operations and aggressively return cash to investors. In the past two-and-a-half years, the conglom has devoted 110% of free cash flow to shareholders.

TW Cable reported a profit of $401 million, or $1.34 a share, up from $382 million, or $1.20 a share, a year before. That slightly missed analyst expectations of $1.37 per share (Although excluding certain one-time costs, earnings hit $1.41 a share). Revenue rose to 6.6%, driven largely by business services. Advertising rose 8%.

TW Cable execs attributed some of its subscriber losses to “discount seekers who were more likely to churn quickly.” The company has since implemented four separate “retention centers” to help keep customers without relying on heavily discounted packages. Company added 131,000 broadband subscribers but lost 35,000 voice subscribers.

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