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Charter CEO Ted Rutledge Says Simultaneous Streams Affect Pay-TV Subscriptions

Stephanie Sengwe

While offering a number of simultaneous streams has been one of the top selling points for new streaming services, Charter CEO Ted Rutledge believes this option is a driving factor to the decline of pay-TV subscribers. During the UBS Global TMT Conference on Monday, Rutledge said he believed media companies are offering more services than a single household can watch, leading to more password sharing. This, in turn, affects the amount of pay-TV subscribers because of access to free content.

“Our decline in video in aggregate is about 2.3 percent … The pressure … will continue and there are a couple of things driving it. It’s mostly price. The bundle has become very expensive and nothing has stopped that,” he said. “There’s the ability to get the services without paying for them through password-sharing and other digital failures, so-to-speak, from a security perspective. So, when something is free, it tends to drive out the things that cost money. I do think that the MDU market and the college market … some of the places where the ability to get multiple streams in multiple locations would affect the traditional market place in a dramatic way.”

Rutledge went on to say that subscription businesses need to be more “subscriber-oriented instead of eyeball-oriented,” but added that “there’s no indication of that happening” at the moment.

According to FierceVideo, Charter has recently bulked up its efforts to limit password sharing and reduce other authorized access to content. In October, the company joined the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), and Charter has set agreements with media companies, such as Disney and Fox, to work on solutions for preventing password sharing.

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