Cable losing subscribers

A Chinese man watches the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympic games at home on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China.

Jeremy Hobson: Time Warner Cable is reporting this morning that it made $356 million in profit last quarter. But when you dig deeper into the earnings report, you might conclude that it's time for the company to change its name to "Time Warner Internet."

That's because the growth is in high speed data subscriptions -- not cable subscriptions. Marketplace's Stacey Vanek Smith reports.


Stacey Vanek Smith: Time Warner Cable has been losing more than 100,000 customers every quarter.

Robert Thompson is a professor of TV and pop culture at Syracuse University.

Robert Thompson: Between paying your rent or your grocery bill and cutting off cable, it becomes one of the things that has got to go.

Thompson says the other problem is that young people aren't signing up.

Thompson: Very few have cable because they watch all of their television on their laptops. Unfortunately sometimes during my lectures.

Still, there is a bright spot. Larry Gerbrandt is an analyst with Media Valuation.

Larry Gerbandt: When you consider tens of millions of Americans who are unemployed, you would have expected that the losses would be far higher.

Gerbrandt says cable companies have bundled up broadband with cable packages. He says high-speed Internet is sure to grow. And, he says, cable companies have created high-quality content that people will want -- even if they buy it to watch on their computers.

I'm Stacey Vanek Smith for Marketplace.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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