Time Warner Cable beats on high-speed data demand

Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:41pm EST

The Time Warner Cable office is shown in Carlsbad, California November 5, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Time Warner Cable office is shown in Carlsbad, California November 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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(Reuters) - Time Warner Cable Inc, the second largest U.S. cable operator, posted a fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates, helped by robust demand for high-speed data services.

Time Warner Cable and larger rival Comcast Corp have been increasingly relying on internet services to drive growth as they continue to lose cable TV subscribers.

Time Warner said residential high-speed data revenue for the quarter rose 17.2 percent due to price increases and more subscribers opting for higher-priced services.

The company added 75,000 high-speed data subscribers in its residential services unit, compared with analysts' average expectation of 109,000 subscriber additions, according to StreetAccount.

Time Warner Cable, however, lost 129,000 video subscribers, lower than the estimate of a loss of 134,000 subscribers.

The company said average monthly video programming costs per video subscriber increased 5.1 percent to $31.28, mainly driven by contractual rate increases and the carriage of new networks.

The cable provider has been a vocal critic of rising programming costs and has signed contracts to guarantee access to sports programming at a reasonable cost over the long term.

In 2011, it agreed to a $3 billion, 20-year deal to carry Los Angeles Lakers basketball games on its Time Warner Cable Sports channel. On Monday, it said it would carry the new Los Angeles Dodgers channel, outbidding Fox Sports, which held the rights to show Dodgers games for more than a decade.

The company also raised its regular quarterly dividend by 16 percent to 65 cents per share.

Net income attributable to the company for the fourth quarter fell to $513 million, or $1.68 per share, from $564 million, or $1.75 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.57 per share.

Revenue rose about 10 percent to $5.49 billion.

Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.55 per share, excluding items, on revenue of $5.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Time Warner Cable shares closed at $100.70 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore and Liana Baker in New York; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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