Getting a handle on churn

Jul 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Digital churn has come down to the point where it’s comparable to “basic” or analog cable churn. That’s the word from Charter Communications, an industry leader in cable’s ongoing broadband transformation.
Last year’s digital churn rate at St. Louis-based Charter was between 5 percent and 6 percent per month, according to a Charter spokesperson. This year, it stands at around 4 percent, while analog churn is at around 21/2 percent per month.
Of that 4 percent, 1/2 percent is attributable simply to customers who switch among digital packages but retain some form of digital service. They are counted as having “churned,” according to the spokesperson, even though at the end of the churn they’re still digital customers.
Also, approximately one-third of the digital churners in any given month have moved their residence, according to Charter.
Of the remaining digital disconnects overall, the “vast majority” goes back to basic cable service, according to the spokesperson.
As customers become more educated about such digital features as electronic programming guides, and as Charter and other multiple system operators continue their video-on-demand and other new-service rollouts, that digital churn is expected to drop even further, according to Charter.
Unlike Charter, many of the other biggest MSOs claim their digital churn is already at the same level as analog, but they will not cite specific numbers. Similarly, cable’s trade organization doesn’t keep track of that data, according to a spokesperson for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.