Time Warner Cable’s Britt: Integrating Adelphia Top Priority

Cable Operator Will Also Focus on Customer Service, Triple Play

New York -- Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said pushing the triple play and integrating its acquired systems are the company’s top priorities.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference here, Britt said increasing product penetration, selling the company's triple-play offering (video, data and voice) and integrating the acquired Adelphia Communications systems remain a top priority over the next 12 months, but the company will also focus on stepping up its marketing and customer-service efforts.

Time Warner will focus on customer service in 2008 more so than it has in the past, Britt said, adding that customer service will play a significant role in the smooth integration of the cable operator’s acquired systems in Dallas and Los Angeles because it was notably poor in the past and because of the disruptive transition of customers to a new system. "One of the challenges in these markets is changing the image of cable," Britt added.

These systems have been bleeding subscribers, but Britt expects the company to stem some of the losses in the second half of the year because many of the disruptions that turn customers off are over, such as channel-lineup changes and billing changes.

But Britt warned against expecting too much too soon. “These properties are going to take a while to get to where we want them to be,” he said. “You don’t turn one of these things around overnight.”

Britt also weighed in on the economy, saying that it was still unclear what impact on the business the recent weakness in the housing market might have. On the company’s second-quarter call, Britt pointed a finger at the softening in the housing market as a possible suspect for a loss of subscribers, and he said the company is still trying to assess the effects. However, some fallout from the subprime mess is showing up on their radar.

“We are seeing a little uptick of bad debt in a few places, which, I think, is a sign of the economy,” Britt said Tuesday. Although it is not dramatic, he added, the company is paying attention to it, but there are no plans to adjust bundled pricing in those affected areas.