As I read the news of the closing of the Charter Communications-Time Warner Cable transaction, I am sad, as a former TWC/ATC executive, to see the company disappear.
I worked for ATC and then Manhattan Cable in the 1980s. Under Trygve Myhren’s leadership (ATC’s CEO from 1975 to 1988), the company rationalized markets and realized that serving major DMAs was the way to go. But more importantly, Trygve and the team saw the future.
ATC pioneered advancing cable technology and capability: first video-on-demand, then pay-per-view, advertising sales (a tiny business), data services and retail. ATC also created one of the first national customer service/ retention departments, of which I was a proud manager.
Related: Charter’s New Road Map [subscription required] | Charter Sets Its New Technology Team [subscription required]
The company’s innovation continued as it became Time Warner Cable (merging with Warner Cable). TWC achieved great financial success and did bold experiments like the Full Service Network. Wow! What a concept — 500 channels. TWC took the leadership role in rolling out fiber networks and continued achieving meaningful adsales revenues, solidifying its position.
Today, as TWC winds down, Charter and Comcast are both at the forefront of delivering the most compelling customer offerings and services ever delivered by cable companies. They’ve become the innovators, creating meaningful business revenue above and beyond delivering programming — from advertising to content creation to serving businesses’ and consumers’ technology needs.
Related: Rob Marcus: Tuning Up TWC Before Handing Over the Keys [subscription required]
It will make a great case study to see Charter and Comcast evolve side by side, and to assess why both surpassed and survived the once much larger Time Warner Cable. I wish the entire Time Warner Cable team all the best.
R.I.P. Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks (another storied company). Here’s hoping the Charter team, led by Tom Rutledge with his deep ATC/TWC roots, leads the company to new heights and pioneers the next chapter.