TWC – for first time in 9 years – says it added video subscribers for full year

After nine years of pay-TV subscriber losses, Time Warner Cable today said it had added 32,000 pay-TV subs, a preview of what CEO Rob Marcus called a “stellar” 2015.

The operator also added one million broadband subscribers and more than one million voice customers over the past 12 months.

The news came in advance of the company’s scheduled Jan. 28 Q4 earnings release.

“TWCs stellar 2015 residential subscriber growth is a testament to the efforts of our entire team,” Marcus said. “We’re especially pleased that we were able to add residential video customers for the first time in nine years, a real milestone for our company and the industry.”

Marcus added that TWC ordinarily wouldn’t announce subscriber results until its earnings release, but said, “I couldn’t wait to thank the team for its outstanding performance.”

That video subscriber add is a light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel for TWC which, since 2010, has lost more than 400,000 video subscribers per year, nearly 2.7 million customers. Its worst year in that time span, 2013, saw 833,000 video subscribers leave. Losses last year totaled 408,000.

Many of those subscribers simply churned to other services, especially IPTV services from Verizon and AT&T, which took millions of subscribers from cable TV operators as they aggressively deployed into new markets and offered consumers sweetheart deals to switch from cable services.

While the news is good – very good – for Time Warner Cable, it doesn’t bode well for satellite and telco operators. Last quarter showed stalled subscriber growth for Verizon and DirecTV, and losses for AT&T and Dish Network, a sign that the churning may simply be changing direction.

As for the industry, overall losses continue as consumers look to alternate sources – like Netflix, HBO Now, CBS All Access, Amazon Prime, SlingTV and others – for their video entertainment.

Time Warner Cable is awaiting regulatory approval to be acquired by Charter Communications.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn