10-K 1 chtr123113-10k.htm 10-K CHTR 12.31.13 - 10K


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
______________
FORM 10-K
______________
(Mark One)
x
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE
ACT OF 1934
 
 
 
 
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013
or
 
 
 
¨
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES
EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Transition Period From             to             
Commission File Number: 001-33664
Charter Communications, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
43-1857213
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
 
 
 
400 Atlantic Street
Stamford, Connecticut 06901
 
(203) 905-7801
(Address of principal executive offices including zip code)
 
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of Exchange which registered
Class A Common Stock, $.001 Par Value
 
NASDAQ Global Select Market

Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No o

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrants have submitted electronically and posted on their corporate website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrants were required to submit and post such files). Yes x No o

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definition of “accelerated filer,” “large accelerated filer,” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

Large accelerated filer x    Accelerated filer o    Non-accelerated filer o    Smaller reporting company o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No x
The aggregate market value of the registrant of outstanding Class A common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant at June 30, 2013 was approximately $8.8 billion, computed based on the closing sale price as quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on that date. For purposes of this calculation only, directors, executive officers and the principal controlling shareholders or entities controlled by such controlling shareholders of the registrant are deemed to be affiliates of the registrant.

APPLICABLE ONLY TO REGISTRANTS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY
PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PRECEDING FIVE YEARS:

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Section 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. Yes x No o

There were 106,144,075 shares of Class A common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2013. There were no shares of Class B common stock outstanding as of the same date.

Documents Incorporated By Reference

Information required by Part III is incorporated by reference from Registrant’s proxy statement or an amendment to this Annual Report on Form 10-K to be filed by April 30, 2014.








CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
FORM 10-K — FOR THE YEAR ENDED
DECEMBER 31, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
 
 
 
Page No.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This annual report on Form 10-K is for the year ended December 31, 2013. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) allows us to “incorporate by reference” information that we file with the SEC, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you directly to those documents. Information incorporated by reference is considered to be part of this annual report. In addition, information that we file with the SEC in the future will automatically update and supersede information contained in this annual report. In this annual report, “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Charter Communications, Inc. and its subsidiaries.



i



CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS:

This annual report includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), regarding, among other things, our plans, strategies and prospects, both business and financial including, without limitation, the forward-looking statements set forth in Part I. Item 1. and in Part II. Item 7. under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this annual report. Although we believe that our plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or realize these plans, intentions or expectations. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including, without limitation, the factors described in Part I. Item 1A. under “Risk Factors” and in Part II. Item 7. under the heading, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this annual report. Many of the forward-looking statements contained in this annual report may be identified by the use of forward‑looking words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “will,” “may,” “intend,” “estimated,” “aim,” “on track,” “target,” “opportunity,” “tentative,” “positioning,” “designed,” “create” and “potential,” among others. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements we make in this annual report are set forth in this annual report and in other reports or documents that we file from time to time with the SEC, and include, but are not limited to:

our ability to sustain and grow revenues and cash flow from operations by offering video, Internet, voice, advertising and other services to residential and commercial customers, to adequately meet the customer experience demands in our markets and to maintain and grow our customer base, particularly in the face of increasingly aggressive competition, the need for innovation and the related capital expenditures and the difficult economic conditions in the United States;

the impact of competition from other market participants, including but not limited to incumbent telephone companies, direct broadcast satellite operators, wireless broadband and telephone providers, digital subscriber line (“DSL”) providers, and video provided over the Internet;

general business conditions, economic uncertainty or downturn, high unemployment levels and the level of activity in the housing sector;

our ability to obtain programming at reasonable prices or to raise prices to offset, in whole or in part, the effects of higher programming costs (including retransmission consents);

the development and deployment of new products and technologies including in connection with our plan to make our systems all-digital in 2014;

the effects of governmental regulation on our business or potential business combination transaction;

the availability and access, in general, of funds to meet our debt obligations prior to or when they become due and to fund our operations and necessary capital expenditures, either through (i) cash on hand, (ii) free cash flow, or (iii) access to the capital or credit markets;

our ability to comply with all covenants in our indentures and credit facilities any violation of which, if not cured in a timely manner, could trigger a default of our other obligations under cross-default provisions; and

the ultimate outcome of any possible transaction between Charter and Comcast Corporation ("Comcast") and/or Time Warner Cable Inc. ("TWC") including the possibility that Charter will not pursue any transaction; and if a transaction were to occur, the ultimate outcome and results of integrating the operations, the ultimate outcome of Charter’s pricing and packaging and operating strategy applied to the acquired systems and the ultimate ability to realize synergies.
 
All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. We are under no duty or obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this annual report.


ii



PART I

Item 1. Business.

Introduction

We are among the largest providers of cable services in the United States, offering a variety of entertainment, information and communications solutions to residential and commercial customers. Our infrastructure consists of a hybrid of fiber and coaxial cable plant with approximately 12.8 million estimated passings, with 97% at 550 megahertz (“MHz”) or greater and 98% of plant miles two-way active. A national Internet Protocol (IP) infrastructure interconnects Charter Communications, Inc. (“Charter”) markets. See "Item 1. Business — Products and Services" for further description of these terms and services, including "customers."

As of December 31, 2013, we served approximately 5.9 million residential and commercial customers. We sell our video, Internet and voice services primarily on a subscription basis, often in a bundle of two or more services, providing savings and convenience to our customers. Bundled services are available to approximately 97% of our passings, and approximately 62% of our customers subscribe to a bundle of services.

We served approximately 4.2 million residential video customers as of December 31, 2013, and approximately 92% of our video customers subscribed to digital video service. Digital video enables our customers to access advanced video services such as high definition ("HD") television, Charter OnDemand™ (“OnDemand”) video programming, an interactive program guide and digital video recorder (“DVR”) service. We initiated our all-digital initiative in 2013 in a number of our markets. We expect to complete our all-digital rollout by the end of 2014. Once a market is all-digital, we will offer over 200 HD channels and faster Internet speeds in these areas.

We also served approximately 4.4 million residential Internet customers as of December 31, 2013. Our Internet service is available in a variety of download speeds up to 100 megabits per second (“Mbps”) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps. Approximately 75% of our Internet customers have at least 30 Mbps download speed which currently is the minimum speed we offer.

We provided voice service to approximately 2.3 million residential customers as of December 31, 2013. Our voice services typically include unlimited local and long distance calling to the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, plus other features, including voicemail, call waiting and caller ID.

Through Charter Business®, we provide scalable, tailored broadband communications solutions to business and carrier organizations, such as video entertainment services, Internet access, business telephone services, data networking and fiber connectivity to cellular towers and office buildings. As of December 31, 2013, we served approximately 567,000 commercial primary service units, primarily small- and medium-sized commercial customers. Our advertising sales division, Charter Media®, provides local, regional and national businesses with the opportunity to advertise in individual markets on cable television networks.

For the year ended December 31, 2013, we generated approximately $8.2 billion in revenue, of which approximately 84% was generated from our residential video, Internet and voice services. We also generated revenue from providing video, Internet, voice and fiber connectivity services to commercial businesses and from the sale of advertising. Sales from residential triple play customers, Internet and video revenues and from commercial services have contributed to the majority of our recent revenue growth.

We have a history of net losses.  Our net losses are principally attributable to insufficient revenue to cover the combination of operating expenses, interest expenses that we incur on our debt, depreciation expenses resulting from the capital investments we have made, and continue to make, in our cable properties, amortization expenses related to our customer relationship intangibles and non-cash taxes resulting from increases in our deferred tax liabilities.

Charter was organized as a Delaware corporation in 1999. On March 27, 2009, we and certain affiliates filed voluntary petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the “Bankruptcy Court”), to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”).  The Chapter 11 cases were jointly administered under the caption In re Charter Communications, Inc., et al., Case No. 09-11435. On May 7, 2009, we filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization (the “Plan”) and a related disclosure statement with the Bankruptcy Court. The Plan was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court on November 17, 2009, and became effective on November 30, 2009, the date on which we emerged from protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The final decree closing the case was entered by the Bankruptcy Court on December 30, 2013.



1



The terms “Charter,” “we,” “our” and “us,” when used in this report with respect to the period prior to Charter’s emergence from bankruptcy, are references to the Debtors (“Predecessor”) and, when used with respect to the period commencing after Charter’s emergence, are references to Charter (“Successor”). These references include the subsidiaries of Predecessor or Successor, as the case may be, unless otherwise indicated or the context requires otherwise.

Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Atlantic Street, Stamford, Connecticut 06901. Our telephone number is (203) 905-7801, and we have a website accessible at www.charter.com. Our annual reports, quarterly reports and current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments thereto, are available on our website free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been filed. The information posted on our website is not incorporated into this annual report.

Recent Events

On January 13, 2014, Charter issued a press release announcing that it has sent a letter to TWC proposing that the companies immediately engage in discussions to conclude a merger agreement to combine the companies. On February 11, 2014, Charter provided a notice of intent to nominate 13 candidates for the board of directors of TWC. On February 13, 2014, TWC and Comcast announced an agreement for TWC to merge with Comcast. Comcast also announced that it intended to sell systems with 3 million subscribers in connection with its purchase of TWC. Prior to Comcast's announcement on February 13, 2014, Charter and Comcast were actively engaged in discussions to work together for Charter to purchase TWC and for Charter to sell systems to Comcast. We cannot predict if we will be successful in completing any acquisitions of TWC or Comcast cable systems.





2



Corporate Entity Structure

The chart below sets forth our entity structure and that of our direct and indirect subsidiaries. This chart does not include all of our affiliates and subsidiaries and, in some cases, we have combined separate entities for presentation purposes. The equity ownership percentages shown below are approximations and do not give effect to any exercise of then outstanding warrants. Effective December 31, 2013, Charter contributed all of its 30% preferred equity in CC VIII, LLC ("CC VIII") through intermediary subsidiaries to CCH I, LLC ("CCH I") resulting in CCH I Holding 100% of the preferred equity in CC VIII. As a result of this restructuring, the respective common equity interests in Charter Communications Holding Company, LLC (“Charter Holdco”) were adjusted to reflect each entity's respective contributions. Indebtedness amounts shown below are principal amounts as of December 31, 2013. See Note 8 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” which also includes the accreted values of the indebtedness described below.


Charter Communications, Inc. Charter owns 100% of Charter Holdco. Charter Holdco, through its subsidiaries, owns cable systems. As sole manager under applicable operating agreements, Charter controls the affairs of Charter Holdco and its limited liability company subsidiaries. In addition, Charter provides management services to Charter Holdco and its subsidiaries under a management services agreement.

Interim Holding Companies. As indicated in the organizational chart above, our interim holding companies indirectly own the subsidiaries that own or operate all of our cable systems, subject to a CC VIII 100% preferred interest held by CCH I, and two of these companies, CCO Holdings, LLC ("CCO Holdings") and Charter Communications Operating, LLC ("Charter Operating"), had debt obligations as of December 31, 2013. For a description of the debt issued by these issuers please see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Description of Our Outstanding Debt.”



3



Products and Services

Through our hybrid fiber and coaxial cable network, we offer our customers traditional cable video services, as well as advanced video services (such as OnDemand, HD television, and DVR service), Internet services and voice services. Our voice services are primarily provided using voice over Internet protocol (“VoIP”) technology, to transmit digital voice signals over our systems. Our video, Internet, and voice services are offered to residential and commercial customers on a subscription basis, with prices and related charges based on the types of service selected, whether the services are sold as a “bundle” or on an individual basis, and the equipment necessary to receive the services.

The following table summarizes our customer statistics for video, Internet and voice as of December 31, 2013 and 2012.

 
Approximate as of
 
December 31,
 
2013 (a)
 
2012 (a)
Residential
 
 
 
Video (b)
4,177

 
3,989

Internet (c)
4,383

 
3,785

Voice (d)
2,273

 
1,914

Residential PSUs (e)
10,833

 
9,688

 
 
 
 
Residential Customer Relationships (f)
5,561

 
5,035

Revenue per Customer Relationship (g)
$
107.97

 
$
105.78

 
 
 
 
Commercial
 
 
 
Video (b)(h)
165

 
169

Internet (c)
257

 
193

Voice (d)
145

 
105

Commercial PSUs (e)
567

 
467

 
 
 
 
Commercial Customer Relationships (f)(h)
375

 
325


After giving effect to the acquisition of Bresnan Broadband Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries (collectively, “Bresnan”) in July 2013, December 31, 2012 residential video, Internet and voice customers would have been 4,286,000, 4,059,000 and 2,073,000, respectively, and commercial video, Internet and voice customers would have been 177,000, 210,000 and 116,000, respectively.

(a)
We calculate the aging of customer accounts based on the monthly billing cycle for each account. On that basis, as of December 31, 2013 and 2012, customers include approximately 11,300 and 18,400 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 60 days past due in payment, approximately 800 and 2,600 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 90 days past due in payment, and approximately 900 and 1,700 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 120 days past due in payment.

(b)
“Video customers” represent those customers who subscribe to our video cable services.

(c)
“Internet customers” represent those customers who subscribe to our Internet service.

(d)
“Voice customers” represent those customers who subscribe to our voice service.

(e)
“Primary Service Units” or “PSUs” represent the total of video, Internet and voice customers.

(f)
"Customer Relationships" include the number of customers that receive one or more levels of service, encompassing video, Internet and voice services, without regard to which service(s) such customers receive. This statistic is computed in accordance with the guidelines of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association ("NCTA"). Commercial customer relationships include video customers in commercial structures, which are calculated on an EBU basis (see footnote (h)) and non-video commercial customer relationships.
  


4




(g)
"Revenue per Customer Relationship" is calculated as total residential video, Internet and voice quarterly revenue divided by three divided by average residential customer relationships during the respective quarter.

(h)
Included within commercial video customers are those in commercial structures, which are calculated on an equivalent bulk unit (“EBU”) basis. We calculate EBUs by dividing the bulk price charged to accounts in an area by the published rate charged to non-bulk residential customers in that market for the comparable tier of service. This EBU method of estimating basic video customers is consistent with the methodology used in determining costs paid to programmers and is consistent with the methodology used by other multiple system operators. As we increase our published video rates to residential customers without a corresponding increase in the prices charged to commercial service customers, our EBU count will decline even if there is no real loss in commercial service customers. For example, commercial video customers decreased by 10,000 during the year ended December 31, 2013 due to published video rate increases.

Video Services

In 2013, residential video services represented approximately 49% of our total revenues. Our video service offerings include the following:

Video. All of our video customers receive a package of basic programming which generally consists of local broadcast television, local community programming, including governmental and public access, and limited satellite-delivered or non-broadcast channels, such as weather, shopping and religious programming. Our digital video services include a digital set-top box, an interactive electronic programming guide with parental controls, an expanded menu of digital tiers, premium and pay-per-view channels, including OnDemand (available nearly everywhere), digital quality music channels and the option to also receive a cable card. In addition to video programming, digital video service enables customers to receive our advanced video services such as DVR's and HD television. Premium channels provide original programming, commercial-free movies, sports, and other special event entertainment programming. Although we offer subscriptions to premium channels on an individual basis, we offer an increasing number of digital video and premium channel packages, and we offer premium channels combined with our advanced video services. Much of our programming is now offered OnDemand and increasingly over the Internet.

OnDemand, Subscription OnDemand and Pay-Per-View. In most areas, we offer OnDemand service which allows customers to select from 10,000 or more titles at any time. OnDemand includes standard definition, HD and three dimensional ("3D") content. OnDemand programming options may be accessed for free if the content is associated with the customer’s linear subscription, or for a fee on a transactional basis. OnDemand services may also be offered on a subscription basis included in a digital tier premium channel subscription or for a monthly fee. Pay-per-view channels allow customers to pay on a per-event basis to view a single showing of a recently released movie, a one-time special sporting event, music concert, or similar event on a commercial-free basis.

High Definition Television. HD television offers our digital customers certain video programming at a higher resolution to improve picture and audio quality versus standard basic or digital video images. In 2014, we plan to complete our transition to all-digital transmission of channels which will allow us to increase the number of HD channels offered to more than 200 in substantially all of our markets.

Digital Video Recorder. DVR service enables customers to digitally record programming and to pause and rewind live programming.    Charter customers may lease multiple DVR set-top boxes to maximize recording capacity on multiple televisions in the home.  Most of Charter customers also have the ability to program their DVR's remotely via tablet and phone applications or our website. 

Charter TV App. The Charter TV App enables Charter video customers to search and discover content on a variety of customer owned devices, including the iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod Touch®, as well as the most popular Android based tablets. The Charter TV App allows customers to watch over 100 channels of cable TV and use the device as a remote to control their digital set-top box while in their home. It also allows customers the ability to browse Charter's program guide, search for programming, and schedule DVR recordings from inside and outside the home. Charter's online offerings include many of our largest and most popular networks. We also currently offer content already available online through Charter.net such as HBO Go® and WatchESPN® with other online content. We are currently testing a network based user interface with the same look and feel of the Charter TV App. The user interface is being designed to work with all of our existing and future set-top boxes. A second alternative is to deploy the user interface to the majority of our existing set-top boxes and all of our new set-top boxes which are Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification ("DOCSIS") enabled.


5




Internet Services

In 2013, residential Internet services represented approximately 27% of our total revenues. Approximately 94% of our estimated passings have DOCSIS 3.0 wideband technology, allowing us to offer multiple tiers of Internet services with speeds up to 100 Mbps download to our residential customers.  Our Internet services also include our Internet portal, Charter.net, which provides multiple e-mail addresses, as well as variety of content and media from local, national and international providers including entertainment, games, news and sports.  Finally, Charter Security Suite is included with Charter Internet services and protects computers from viruses and spyware and provides parental control features.

Accelerated growth in the number of IP devices and bandwidth used in homes has created a need for faster speeds and greater reliability.  Charter is focused on providing services to fill those needs.  In 2013, we reintroduced an in-home WiFi product permitting customers to lease a high performing wireless router to maximize their wireless Internet experience. Our base Internet speed offering is 30 Mbps download and we offer speeds up to 100 Mbps in all of our markets. As we complete the all-digital initiative, we expect to increase our minimum offered Internet speed to 60 Mbps, and 100 Mbps in certain markets, with the ability to go faster.

Voice Services

In 2013, residential voice services represented approximately 8% of our total revenues. We provide voice communications services primarily using VoIP technology to transmit digital voice signals over our network. Charter Voice includes unlimited nationwide calling, voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding and other features. Charter Voice also provides international calling either by the minute or through packages of minutes per month. For Charter Voice and video customers, caller ID on TV is available.

Commercial Services

In 2013, commercial services represented approximately 10% of our total revenues. Commercial services offered through Charter Business, include scalable broadband communications solutions for businesses and carrier organizations of all sizes such as Internet access, data networking, fiber connectivity to cellular towers and office buildings, video entertainment services and business telephone services.
 
Small Business.  Charter offers small businesses (1 - 19 employees) services similar to our residential offerings including a full range of video programming tiers and music services, coax Internet speeds up to 100 Mbps downstream and up to 7 Mbps upstream in its DOCSIS 3.0 markets, a set of business cloud services including web hosting, e-mail and security, and multi-line telephone services with more than 30 business features including web-based service management.
 
Medium Business.   In addition to its other offerings, Charter also offers medium sized businesses (20-199 employees) more complex products such as fiber Internet with symmetrical speeds of up to 1 Gbps and voice trunking services such as Primary Rate Interface ("PRI") and Session Initiation Protocol ("SIP") Trunks which provide higher-capacity voice services.   Charter also offers Metro Ethernet service that connects two or more locations for commercial customers with geographically dispersed locations with speeds up to 10 Gbps.  Metro Ethernet service can also extend the reach of the customer's local area network or "LAN" within and between metropolitan areas.

Large Business.  Charter offers large businesses (200+ employees) with multiple sites more specialized solutions such as custom fiber networks, Metro and long haul Ethernet, PRI and SIP Trunk services.

Carrier Wholesale.  Charter offers high-capacity last-mile data connectivity services to wireless and wireline carriers, Internet Service Providers ("ISPs") and other competitive carriers on a wholesale basis. 

Sale of Advertising

In 2013, sales of advertising represented approximately 4% of our total revenues. We receive revenues from the sale of local advertising on satellite-delivered networks such as MTV®, CNN® and ESPN®. In any particular market, we generally insert local advertising on up to 40 channels. We also sell advertising on our Internet portal, Charter.net. In most cases, the available advertising time is sold by our sales force, however in some cases, we enter into representation agreements with contiguous cable system operators under which another operator in the area will sell advertising on our behalf for a percentage of the revenue. In some markets, we sell advertising on behalf of other operators.


6




Charter has deployed Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (“EBIF”) technology to set-top boxes in most service areas within the Charter footprint.  EBIF is a technology foundation that will allow Charter to deliver enhanced and interactive television applications and enable our video customers to use their remote control to interact with their television programming and its advertisements.  EBIF will enable Charter’s customers to request such items as coupons, samples, and brochures from advertisers.

From time to time, certain of our vendors, including programmers and equipment vendors, have purchased advertising from us. For the years ending December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, we had advertising revenues from vendors of approximately $41 million, $59 million and $51 million, respectively. These revenues resulted from purchases at market rates pursuant to binding agreements.

Pricing of Our Products and Services

Our revenues are derived principally from the monthly fees customers pay for the services we provide. We typically charge a one-time installation fee which is sometimes waived or discounted during certain promotional periods. The prices we charge for our products and services vary based on the level of service the customer chooses and in some cases the geographic market. In accordance with Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") rules, the prices we charge for video cable-related equipment, such as set-top boxes and remote control devices, and for installation services, are based on actual costs plus a permitted rate of return in regulated markets.

In mid-2012, Charter launched a new pricing and packaging approach which emphasizes the triple play products of video, Internet and voice services and combines our most popular services in core packages at a fair price. We believe the benefits of this new approach are:

simplicity for both our customers in understanding our offers, and our employees in service delivery;
the ability to package more services at the time of sale and include more product in each service, thus increasing revenue per customer;
higher product offering quality through more HD channels, improved pricing for HD and HD/DVR equipment and faster Internet speeds;
lower expected churn as a result of higher customer satisfaction; and
gradual price increases at the end of promotional periods.

As of December 31, 2013, approximately 64% of our customers, or 68% excluding those acquired in the acquisition of Bresnan, are in the new pricing and packaging plan.

Our Network Technology

Our network includes three components: the national backbone, regional/metro networks and the "last-mile" network.  Both our national backbone and regional/metro network components utilize or plan to utilize a redundant Internet Protocol ("IP”) ring/mesh architecture with the capability to differentiate quality of service for each residential or commercial product offering.  The national backbone provides connectivity from the regional demarcation points to nationally centralized content, connectivity and services.  The regional/metro network components provide connectivity between the regional demarcation points and headends within a specific geographic area and enable the delivery of content and services between these network components.

Our last-mile network utilizes a traditional hybrid fiber coaxial cable (“HFC”) architecture, which combines the use of fiber optic cable with coaxial cable.  In most systems, we deliver our signals via fiber optic cable from the headend to a group of nodes, and use coaxial cable to deliver the signal from individual nodes to the homes served by that node. For our fiber Internet, Ethernet, carrier wholesale, SIP and PRI commercial customers, fiber optic cable is extended from the individual nodes all the way to the customer's site.  On average, our system design enables up to 340 homes passed to be served by a single node and provides for six strands of fiber to each node, with two strands activated and four strands reserved for spares and future services.  We believe that this hybrid network design provides high capacity and signal quality.  The design also provides two-way signal capacity for the addition of further interactive services.
 
HFC architecture benefits include:

bandwidth capacity to enable traditional and two-way video and broadband services;
dedicated bandwidth for two-way services, which avoids return signal interference problems that can occur with two-way communication capability; and
signal quality and high service reliability.



7



Approximately 97% of our estimated passings are served by systems that have bandwidth of 550 megahertz or greater and 98% are two-way activated as of December 31, 2013. This bandwidth capacity enables us to offer digital television, Internet services, voice services and other advanced video services.

In 2013, we initiated a transition from analog to digital transmission of the channels we distribute which allows us to recapture bandwidth. We completed this transition in approximately 15% of our footprint in 2013 and expect to complete the initiative in 2014 across our remaining footprint. The all-digital platform enables us to offer a larger selection of HD channels, faster Internet speeds and better picture quality while providing greater plant security and lower transaction costs.

In 2013, we initiated a trial of a network, or “cloud,” based user interface designed to enable our customers to enjoy a common user interface with a state-of-the-art video experience on all existing and future set-top boxes. We plan to continue to trial and enhance this technology in 2014.

Management, Customer Care and Marketing

Our operations are centralized with our corporate office responsible for coordinating and overseeing operations including establishing company-wide strategies, policies and procedures. Sales and marketing, network operations, field operations, customer care, engineering, advertising sales, human resources, legal, government relations, information technology and finance are all directed at the corporate level. Regional and local field operations are responsible for servicing customers and maintenance and construction of outside plant.  

Charter continues to focus on improving the customer experience through improvements to our customer care processes, product offerings and the quality and reliability of our service.  Our customer care centers are managed centrally.  We have eight internal customer care locations which route calls to the appropriate agents, plus several third-party call center locations that through technology and procedures function as an integrated system.  We also have two additional customer care locations acquired as part of the acquisition of Bresnan. See “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Overview.” We increased the portion of service calls handled by Charter employees in 2013 and intend to continue to do so in 2014. We also utilize our website to enable our customers to view and pay their bills on-line, obtain information regarding their account or services, and perform various equipment troubleshooting procedures.  Our customers may also obtain support through our on-line chat functionality.  We increased our outside plant maintenance activities in 2012 and 2013 to improve the reliability and technical quality of our plant to avoid repeat trouble calls, which has resulted in reductions in the number of service-related calls to our care centers and in the number of trouble call truck rolls in 2012 and 2013.

Our marketing strategy emphasizes our bundled services through targeted direct response marketing programs to existing and potential customers and increases awareness and value of the Charter brand. Marketing expenditures increased by $57 million, or 14%, over the year ended December 31, 2012 to $479 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 as a result of increased media investment and commercial marketing efforts. Our marketing organization creates and executes marketing programs intended to increase customers, retain existing customers and cross-sell additional products to current customers. We monitor the effectiveness of our marketing efforts, customer perception, competition, pricing, and service preferences, among other factors, to increase our responsiveness to our customers. Our marketing organization also manages and directs several sales channels including direct sales, on-line, outbound telemarketing and Charter stores.

Programming

General

We believe that offering a wide variety of programming influences a customer’s decision to subscribe to and retain our cable services. We rely on our experience in programming cable systems, which includes market research, customer demographics and local programming preferences to determine channel offerings in each of our markets. We obtain basic and premium programming from a number of suppliers, usually pursuant to written contracts. Our programming contracts generally continue for a fixed period of time, usually from three to eight years, and are subject to negotiated renewal. Some programming suppliers offer financial incentives to support the launch of a channel and/or ongoing marketing support. We also negotiate volume discount pricing structures. We have more recently negotiated for additional content rights allowing us to provide programming on-line to our authenticated customers.

Costs

Programming is usually made available to us for a license fee, which is generally paid based on the number of customers to whom we make such programming available. Programming costs are usually payable each month based on calculations


8



performed by us and are generally subject to annual cost escalations and audits by the programmers. Programming license fees may include “volume” discounts available for higher numbers of customers, as well as discounts for channel placement or service penetration. Some channels are available without cost to us for a limited period of time, after which we pay for the programming. For home shopping channels, we receive a percentage of the revenue attributable to our customers’ purchases, as well as, in some instances, incentives for channel placement.

Our programming costs have increased in every year we have operated in excess of customary inflationary and cost-of-living type increases. We expect them to continue to increase due to a variety of factors including amounts paid for retransmission consent, annual increases imposed by programmers with additional selling power as a result of media consolidation and additional programming, including new sports services and non-linear programming for on-line and OnDemand programming. In particular, sports programming costs have increased significantly over the past several years as well as increases in the demands of large media companies who link carriage of their most popular networks to carriage and cost increases for all of their networks. In addition, contracts to purchase sports programming sometimes provide for optional additional games to be added to the service and made available on a surcharge basis during the term of the contract. Additionally, programmers continue to create new networks and migrate popular programming such as sporting events to those networks.

Federal law allows commercial television broadcast stations to make an election between “must-carry” rights and an alternative “retransmission-consent” regime. When a station opts for the retransmission-consent regime, we are not allowed to carry the station’s signal without the station’s permission. Continuing demands by owners of broadcast stations for cash payments at substantial increases over amounts paid in prior years in exchange for retransmission consent will increase our programming costs or require us to cease carriage of popular programming, potentially leading to a loss of customers in affected markets.

Over the past several years, increases in our video service rates have not fully offset increasing programming costs, and with the impact of increasing competition and other marketplace factors, we do not expect them to do so in the foreseeable future. Although we pass along a portion of amounts paid for retransmission consent to the majority of our customers, our inability to fully pass these programming cost increases on to our video customers has had and is expected in the future to have an adverse impact on our cash flow and operating margins associated with the video product. In order to mitigate reductions of our operating margins due to rapidly increasing programming costs, we continue to review our pricing and programming packaging strategies, and we plan to continue to migrate certain program services from our basic level of service to our digital tiers, remove underperforming services and limit the launch of non-essential, new networks.

We have programming contracts that have expired and others that will expire at or before the end of 2014. We will seek to renegotiate the terms of these agreements. There can be no assurance that these agreements will be renewed on favorable or comparable terms. To the extent that we are unable to reach agreement with certain programmers on terms that we believe are reasonable, we have been, and may in the future be, forced to remove such programming channels from our line-up, which may result in a loss of customers.

Franchises

As of December 31, 2013, our systems operated pursuant to a total of approximately 3,300 franchises, permits, and similar authorizations issued by local and state governmental authorities. Such governmental authorities often must approve a transfer to another party. Most franchises are subject to termination proceedings in the event of a material breach. In addition, most franchises require us to pay the granting authority a franchise fee of up to 5.0% of revenues as defined in the various agreements, which is the maximum amount that may be charged under the applicable federal law. We are entitled to and generally do pass this fee through to the customer.

Prior to the scheduled expiration of most franchises, we generally initiate renewal proceedings with the granting authorities. This process usually takes three years but can take a longer period of time. The Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Communications Act”), which is the primary federal statute regulating interstate communications, provides for an orderly franchise renewal process in which granting authorities may not unreasonably withhold renewals. In connection with the franchise renewal process, many governmental authorities require the cable operator to make certain commitments, such as building out certain of the franchise areas, customer service requirements, and supporting and carrying public access channels. Historically we have been able to renew our franchises without incurring significant costs, although any particular franchise may not be renewed on commercially favorable terms or otherwise. If we failed to obtain renewals of franchises representing a significant number of our customers, it could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or our liquidity, including our ability to comply with our debt covenants. See “— Regulation and Legislation — Video Services — Franchise Matters.”



9



Markets

We operate in geographically diverse areas which are organized in regional clusters we call key market areas. These key market areas are managed centrally on a consolidated level. Our twelve key market areas and the customer relationships within each market as of December 31, 2013 are as follows (in thousands):

Key Market Area
 
Total Customer Relationships
 
 
 
California
 
595
Carolinas
 
585
Central States
 
599
Alabama/Georgia
 
626
Michigan
 
644
Minnesota/Nebraska
 
346
Mountain States
 
384
New England
 
357
Northwest
 
499
Tennessee/Louisiana
 
530
Texas
 
193
Wisconsin
 
578

Competition

We face competition for both residential and commercial customers in the areas of price, service offerings, and service reliability. In our residential business, we compete with other providers of video, high-speed Internet access, voice services, and other sources of home entertainment. In our commercial business, we compete with other providers of video, high-speed Internet access and related value-added services, fiber solutions, business telephony, and Ethernet services. We operate in a competitive business environment, which can adversely affect the results of our business and operations. We cannot predict the impact on us of broadband services offered by our competitors.

In terms of competition for customers, we view ourselves as a member of the broadband communications industry, which encompasses multi-channel video for television and related broadband services, such as high-speed Internet, voice, and other interactive video services. In the broadband communications industry, our principal competitors for video services are direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”) and telephone companies that offer video services. Our principal competitors for high-speed Internet services are the broadband services provided by telephone companies, including both traditional DSL, fiber-to-the-node, and fiber-to-the-home offerings. Our principal competitors for voice services are established telephone companies, other telephone service providers, and other carriers, including VoIP providers. At this time, we do not consider other cable operators to be significant competitors in our overall market, as overbuilds are infrequent and geographically spotty (although in any particular market, a cable operator overbuilder would likely be a significant competitor at the local level). We could, however, face additional competition from other cable operators if they began distributing video over the Internet to customers residing outside their current territories.

Our key competitors include:

DBS

Direct broadcast satellite is a significant competitor to cable systems. The two largest DBS providers now serve more than 34 million subscribers nationwide. DBS service allows the subscriber to receive video services directly via satellite using a dish antenna.

Video compression technology and high powered satellites allow DBS providers to offer more than 280 digital channels. In 2013, major DBS competitors were especially competitive with promotional pricing for more basic services. While we continue to believe that the initial investment by a DBS customer exceeds that of a cable customer, the initial equipment cost for DBS has decreased substantially, as the DBS providers have aggressively marketed offers to new customers of incentives for discounted


10



or free equipment, installation, and multiple units. DBS providers are able to offer service nationwide and are able to establish a national image and branding with standardized offerings, which together with their ability to avoid franchise fees of up to 5% of revenues and property tax, leads to greater efficiencies and lower costs in the lower tiers of service. We believe that cable-delivered OnDemand and Subscription OnDemand services, which include HD programming, are superior to DBS service, because cable headends can provide two-way communication to deliver many titles which customers can access and control independently, whereas DBS technology can only make available a much smaller number of titles with DVR-like customer control. DBS providers have also made attempts at deployment of Internet access services via satellite, but those services have been technically constrained and of limited appeal.

Telephone Companies and Utilities

Incumbent telephone companies, including AT&T Inc. (“AT&T”) and Verizon Communications, Inc. ("Verizon"), offer video and other services in competition with us, and we expect they will increasingly do so in the future. These companies are able to offer two-way video, data services and provide digital voice services similar to ours in various portions of their networks. In the case of Verizon, high-speed data services (fiber optic service (“FiOS”)) offer speeds as high as or higher than ours. In addition, these companies continue to offer their traditional telephone services, as well as service bundles that include wireless voice services provided by affiliated companies. Based on internal estimates, we believe that AT&T and Verizon are offering video services in areas serving approximately 30% and 4%, respectively, of our estimated passings and we have experienced customer losses in these areas. AT&T and Verizon have also launched campaigns to capture more of the multiple dwelling unit (“MDU”) market. AT&T has publicly stated that it expects to roll out its video product beyond the territories currently served although it is unclear where and to what extent. When AT&T or Verizon have introduced or expanded their offering of video products in our market areas, we have seen a decrease in our video revenue as AT&T and Verizon typically roll out aggressive marketing and discounting campaigns to launch their products.

In addition to incumbent telephone companies obtaining franchises or alternative authorizations in some areas, and seeking them in others, they have been successful through various means in reducing or streamlining the franchising requirements applicable to them. They have had significant success at the federal and state level in securing FCC rulings and numerous statewide franchise laws that facilitate telephone company entry into the video marketplace. Because telephone companies have been successful in avoiding or reducing franchise and other regulatory requirements that remain applicable to cable operators like us, their competitive posture has often been enhanced. The large scale entry of incumbent telephone companies as direct competitors in the video marketplace has adversely affected the profitability and valuation of our cable systems.

Most telephone companies, including AT&T and Verizon, which already have plant, an existing customer base, and other operational functions in place (such as billing and service personnel), offer Internet access via traditional DSL service. DSL service allows Internet access to subscribers at data transmission speeds greater than those formerly available over conventional telephone lines. We believe DSL service is an alternative to our high-speed Internet service and is often offered at prices lower than our Internet services, although typically at speeds lower than the speeds we offer. DSL providers may currently be in a better position to offer voice and data services to businesses since their networks tend to be more complete in commercial areas. We expect DSL to remain a significant competitor to our high-speed Internet services.

Many large telephone companies also provide fiber-to-the-node or fiber-to-the-home services in select areas of their footprints. Fiber-to-the-node networks can provide faster Internet speeds than conventional DSL, but still cannot typically match our Internet speeds. Our primary fiber-to-the-node competitor is AT&T's U-verse. The competition from U-verse is expected to intensify over time as AT&T completes the expansion plans announced in late 2012. Fiber-to-the-home networks, however, can provide Internet speeds equal to or greater than Charter's current Internet speeds. Verizon's FiOS is the primary fiber-to-the-home competitor.

Our voice service competes directly with incumbent telephone companies and other carriers, including Internet-based VoIP providers, for both residential and commercial voice service customers. Because we offer voice services, we are subject to considerable competition from such companies and other telecommunications providers, including wireless providers with an increasing number of consumers choosing wireless over wired telephone services. The telecommunications and voice services industry is highly competitive and includes competitors with greater financial and personnel resources, strong brand name recognition, and long-standing relationships with regulatory authorities and customers. Moreover, mergers, joint ventures and alliances among our competitors have resulted in providers capable of offering cable television, Internet, and voice services in direct competition with us.

Additionally, we are subject to limited competition from utilities and/or municipal utilities (collectively, "Utilities") that possess fiber optic transmission lines capable of transmitting signals with minimal signal distortion. Certain Utilities are also developing broadband over power line technology, which may allow the provision of Internet, phone and other broadband services to homes and offices.


11




Traditional Overbuilds

Cable systems are operated under non-exclusive franchises historically granted by state and local authorities. More than one cable system may legally be built in the same area. Franchising authorities may grant a second franchise to another cable operator that may contain terms and conditions more favorable than those afforded us. Well-financed businesses from outside the cable industry, such as public utilities that already possess fiber optic and other transmission lines in the areas they serve, have in some cases become competitors. There are a number of cities that have constructed their own cable systems, in a manner similar to city-provided utility services. There also has been interest in traditional cable overbuilds by private companies not affiliated with established local exchange carriers. Constructing a competing cable system is a capital intensive process which involves a high degree of risk. We believe that in order to be successful, a competitor’s overbuild would need to be able to serve the homes and businesses in the overbuilt area with equal or better service quality, on a more cost-effective basis than we can. Any such overbuild operation would require access to capital or access to facilities already in place that are capable of delivering cable television programming. We cannot predict the extent to which additional overbuild situations may occur.

Broadcast Television

Cable television has long competed with broadcast television, which consists of television signals that the viewer is able to receive without charge using an “off-air” antenna. The extent of such competition is dependent upon the quality and quantity of broadcast signals available through “off-air” reception, compared to the services provided by the local cable system. Traditionally, cable television has provided higher picture quality and more channel offerings than broadcast television. However, the recent licensing of digital spectrum by the FCC now provides traditional broadcasters with the ability to deliver HD television pictures and multiple digital-quality program streams, as well as advanced digital services such as subscription video and data transmission.

Internet Delivered Video

Internet access facilitates the streaming of video, including movies and television shows, into homes and businesses. Increasingly, content owners are using Internet-based delivery of content directly to consumers, some without charging a fee to access the content. Further, due to consumer electronic innovations, consumers are able to watch such Internet-delivered content on televisions, personal computers, tablets, gaming boxes connected to televisions and mobile devices. We believe some customers have chosen to receive video over the Internet rather than through our VOD and premium video services, thereby reducing our video revenues. We can not predict the impact that Internet delivered video will have on our revenues and adjusted EBITDA as technologies continue to evolve.

Private Cable

Additional competition is posed by satellite master antenna television systems, or SMATV systems, serving MDUs, such as condominiums, apartment complexes, and private residential communities. Private cable systems can offer improved reception of local television stations, and many of the same satellite-delivered program services that are offered by cable systems. Although disadvantaged from a programming cost perspective, SMATV systems currently benefit from operating advantages not available to franchised cable systems, including fewer regulatory burdens and no requirement to service low density or economically depressed communities. The FCC previously adopted regulations that favor SMATV and private cable operators serving MDU complexes, allowing them to continue to secure exclusive contracts with MDU owners.  This regulatory disparity provides a competitive advantage to certain of our current and potential competitors.

Other Competitors

Local wireless Internet services operate in some markets using available unlicensed radio spectrum. Various wireless phone companies are now offering third and fourth generation (3G and 4G) wireless high-speed Internet services. In addition, a growing number of commercial areas, such as retail malls, restaurants and airports, offer Wi-Fi Internet service. Numerous local governments are also considering or actively pursuing publicly subsidized Wi-Fi and WiMAX Internet access networks. Operators are also marketing PC cards and “personal hotspots” offering wireless broadband access to their cellular networks. These service options offer another alternative to cable-based Internet access.

Regulation and Legislation

The following summary addresses the key regulatory and legislative developments affecting the cable industry and our three primary services for both residential and commercial customers: video service, Internet service, and voice service. Cable system operations are extensively regulated by the federal government (primarily the FCC), certain state governments, and


12



many local governments. A failure to comply with these regulations could subject us to substantial penalties. Our business can be dramatically impacted by changes to the existing regulatory framework, whether triggered by legislative, administrative, or judicial rulings. Congress and the FCC have frequently revisited the subject of communications regulation and they are likely to do so again in the future. We could be materially disadvantaged in the future if we are subject to new regulations that do not equally impact our key competitors. We cannot provide assurance that the already extensive regulation of our business will not be expanded in the future.

Video Service

Cable Rate Regulation. Federal regulations currently restrict the prices that cable systems charge for the minimum level of video programming service, referred to as “basic service,” and associated equipment. All other video service offerings are now universally exempt from rate regulation. Although basic service rate regulation operates pursuant to a federal formula, local governments, commonly referred to as local franchising authorities, are primarily responsible for administering this regulation. The majority of our local franchising authorities have never been certified to regulate basic service cable rates (and order rate reductions and refunds), but they generally retain the right to do so (subject to potential regulatory limitations under state franchising laws), except in those specific communities facing “effective competition,” as defined under federal law. We have secured FCC recognition of effective competition, and become rate deregulated, in many of our communities.

There have been frequent calls to impose expanded rate regulation on the cable industry. Confronted with rapidly increasing cable programming costs, it is possible that Congress may adopt new constraints on the retail pricing or packaging of cable programming. Any such constraints could adversely affect our operations.

Federal rate regulations include certain marketing restrictions that could affect our pricing and packaging of service tiers and equipment. As we attempt to respond to a changing marketplace with competitive pricing practices, we may face regulations that impede our ability to compete.

Must Carry/Retransmission Consent. There are two alternative legal methods for carriage of local broadcast television stations on cable systems. Federal “must carry” regulations require cable systems to carry local broadcast television stations upon the request of the local broadcaster. Alternatively, federal law includes “retransmission consent” regulations, by which popular commercial television stations can prohibit cable carriage unless the cable operator first negotiates for “retransmission consent,” which may be conditioned on significant payments or other concessions. Popular stations invoking “retransmission consent” have been demanding substantial compensation increases in their recent negotiations with cable operators, thereby significantly increasing our operating costs.

Additional government-mandated broadcast carriage obligations could disrupt existing programming commitments, interfere with our preferred use of limited channel capacity, and limit our ability to offer services that appeal to our customers and generate revenues.

Access Channels. Local franchise agreements often require cable operators to set aside certain channels for public, educational, and governmental access programming. Federal law also requires cable systems to designate up to 15% of their channel capacity for commercial leased access by unaffiliated third parties, who may offer programming that our customers do not particularly desire. The FCC adopted new rules in 2007 mandating a significant reduction in the rates that operators can charge commercial leased access users and imposing additional administrative requirements that would be burdensome on the cable industry. The effect of the FCC's new rules was stayed by a federal court, pending a cable industry appeal and an adverse finding by the Office of Management and Budget. Although commercial leased access activity historically has been relatively limited, increased activity in this area could further burden the channel capacity of our cable systems.
 
Ownership Restrictions. Federal regulation of the communications field traditionally included a host of ownership restrictions, which limited the size of certain media entities and restricted their ability to enter into competing enterprises. Through a series of legislative, regulatory, and judicial actions, most of these restrictions have been either eliminated or substantially relaxed. Changes in this regulatory area could alter the business environment in which we operate.

Pole Attachments. The Communications Act requires most utilities owning utility poles to provide cable systems with access to poles and conduits and simultaneously subjects the rates charged for this access to either federal or state regulation. In 2011, the FCC amended its existing pole attachment rules to promote broadband deployment. The 2011 order allows for new penalties in certain cases involving unauthorized attachments, but generally strengthens the cable industry's ability to access investor-owned utility poles on reasonable rates, terms, and conditions. It specifically maintains the basic rate formula applicable to “cable” attachments, but reduces the rate formula previously applicable to “telecommunications” attachments. Several electric utilities sought review of the 2011 order at the FCC and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the FCC and the court subsequently affirmed


13



the new rules. Although the order maintains the status quo treatment of cable-provided VoIP service as an unclassified service eligible for the favorable cable rate, the issue has not been fully resolved by the FCC, and a potential change in classification in a pending proceeding (as well as an unresolved dispute over the telecommunications rate calculation) could adversely impact our pole attachment rates.

Cable Equipment. In 1996, Congress enacted a statute requiring the FCC to adopt regulations designed to assure the development of an independent retail market for “navigation devices,” such as cable set-top boxes. As a result, the FCC generally requires cable operators to make a separate offering of security modules (i.e., a “CableCARD”) that can be used with retail navigation devices, and to use these separate security modules even in their own set-top boxes. The FCC commenced a proceeding in 2010 to adopt standards for a successor technology to CableCARD that would involve the development of smart video devices that are compatible with any multichannel video programming distributor service in the United States. Some of the FCC’s rules requiring support for CableCARDs were vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2013, and the FCC has an open proceeding to consider the adoption of replacement rules. Either of the above proceedings could result in additional equipment-related obligations. In April 2013, Charter received a two-year waiver from the FCC’s “integration ban,” which otherwise requires all new leased cable set-top boxes to have separable security such as CableCARDs. A condition to the waiver is the requirement for Charter to meet certain milestones regarding downloadable security. By the end of the waiver period, Charter intends to have deployed a downloadable security system that will comply with the integration ban without the use of CableCARDs. This waiver is affording Charter the ability to use lower-cost set-top boxes as it transitions to all-digital operations. In connection with our request for this waiver, Charter committed to continue to support CableCARDs and to follow the CableCARD-related rules that were struck down by the court in 2013. Outside parties have appealed our waiver to the FCC. The outcome of those appeals could adversely impact the waiver; however, Charter intends to defend the waiver with the FCC.

MDUs / Inside Wiring. The FCC has adopted a series of regulations designed to spur competition to established cable operators in MDU complexes. These regulations allow our competitors to access certain existing cable wiring inside MDUs. The FCC also adopted regulations limiting the ability of established cable operators, like us, to enter into exclusive service contracts for MDU complexes. In their current form, the FCC’s regulations in this area favor our competitors.

Privacy and Information Security Regulation. The Communications Act limits our ability to collect and disclose subscribers’ personally identifiable information for our video, voice, and Internet services, as well as provides requirements to safeguard such information. We are subject to additional federal, state, and local laws and regulations that impose additional restrictions on the collection, use and disclosure of consumer, subscriber and employee information. Further, the FCC, FTC, and many states regulate and restrict the marketing practices of cable operators, including telemarketing and online marketing efforts. Various federal agencies, including the FTC, are now considering new restrictions affecting the use of personal and profiling data for online advertising.

Our operations are also subject to federal and state laws governing information security, including rules requiring customer notification in the event of an information security breach. Congress is considering the adoption of new data security and cybersecurity legislation that could result in additional network and information security requirements for our business.

Other FCC Regulatory Matters. FCC regulations cover a variety of additional areas, including, among other things: (1) equal employment opportunity obligations; (2) customer service standards; (3) technical service standards; (4) mandatory blackouts of certain network, syndicated and sports programming; (5) restrictions on political advertising; (6) restrictions on advertising in children's programming; (7) licensing of systems and facilities; (8) maintenance of public files; (9) emergency alert systems; and (10) disability access, including new requirements governing video-description and closed-captioning. Each of these regulations restricts our business practices to varying degrees.

It is possible that Congress or the FCC will expand or modify its regulation of cable systems in the future, and we cannot predict at this time how that might impact our business.

Copyright. Cable systems are subject to a federal copyright compulsory license covering carriage of television and radio broadcast signals. The possible modification or elimination of this compulsory copyright license is the subject of continuing legislative proposals and administrative review and could adversely affect our ability to obtain desired broadcast programming. Pursuant to the Satellite Television Extension and Localisms Act of 2010 (“STELA”), the Copyright Office, the Government Accountability Office and the FCC all issued reports to Congress in 2011 that generally support an eventual phase-out of the compulsory licenses, although they also acknowledge the potential adverse impact on cable subscribers and the absence of any clear marketplace alternative to the compulsory license. If adopted, a phase-out plan could adversely affect our ability to obtain certain programming and substantially increase our programming costs. STELA also establishes a new audit mechanism for copyright owners to review compulsory copyright filings, which the Copyright Office is still in the process of implementing.



14



Copyright clearances for non-broadcast programming services are arranged through private negotiations. Cable operators also must obtain music rights for locally originated programming and advertising from the major music performing rights organizations. These licensing fees have been the source of litigation in the past, and we cannot predict with certainty whether license fee disputes may arise in the future.

Franchise Matters. Cable systems generally are operated pursuant to nonexclusive franchises granted by a municipality or other state or local government entity in order to utilize and cross public rights-of-way. Cable franchises generally are granted for fixed terms and in many cases include monetary penalties for noncompliance and may be terminable if the franchisee fails to comply with material provisions. The specific terms and conditions of cable franchises vary significantly between jurisdictions. Cable franchises generally contain provisions governing cable operations, franchise fees, system construction, maintenance, technical performance, customer service standards, and changes in the ownership of the franchisee. A number of states subject cable systems to the jurisdiction of centralized state government agencies, such as public utility commissions. Although local franchising authorities have considerable discretion in establishing franchise terms, certain federal protections benefit cable operators. For example, federal law caps local franchise fees and includes renewal procedures designed to protect incumbent franchisees from arbitrary denials of renewal. Even if a franchise is renewed, however, the local franchising authority may seek to impose new and more onerous requirements as a condition of renewal. Similarly, if a local franchising authority's consent is required for the purchase or sale of a cable system, the local franchising authority may attempt to impose more burdensome requirements as a condition for providing its consent.

The traditional cable franchising regime has recently undergone significant change as a result of various federal and state actions. The FCC has adopted rules that streamline entry for new competitors (particularly those affiliated with telephone companies) and reduce certain franchising burdens for these new entrants. The FCC adopted more modest relief for existing cable operators.

At the same time, a substantial number of states have adopted new franchising laws. Again, these laws were principally designed to streamline entry for new competitors, and they often provide advantages for these new entrants that are not immediately available to existing cable operators. In many instances, these franchising regimes do not apply to established cable operators until the existing franchise expires or a competitor directly enters the franchise territory. The exact nature of these state franchising laws, and their varying application to new and existing video providers, will impact our franchising obligations and our competitive position.

Internet Service

On January 14, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Verizon v. FCC, struck down major portions of the FCC’s 2010 “net neutrality” rules governing the operating practices of broadband Internet access providers like us.  The FCC originally designed the rules to ensure an “open Internet” and included three key requirements for broadband providers:  1) a prohibition against blocking websites or other online applications; 2) a prohibition against unreasonable discrimination among Internet users or among different websites or other sources of information; and 3) a transparency requirement compelling the disclosure of network management policies.  The Court struck down the first two requirements, concluding that they constitute “common carrier” restrictions that are not permissible given the FCC’s earlier decision to classify Internet access as an “information service,” rather than a “telecommunications service.”  The Court upheld the FCC’s transparency requirement and the FCC's authority to adopt regulations regarding the Internet.

As the Internet has matured, it has become the subject of increasing regulatory interest. Congress and federal regulators have adopted a wide range of measures directly or potentially affecting Internet use, including, for example, consumer privacy, copyright protections, defamation liability, taxation, obscenity, and unsolicited commercial e-mail. Our Internet services are subject to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act ("CALEA") requirements regarding law enforcement surveillance. Content owners are now seeking additional legal mechanisms to combat copyright infringement over the Internet. Pending and future legislation in this area could adversely affect our operations as an Internet service provider and our relationship with our Internet customers. Additionally, the FCC and Congress are considering subjecting Internet access services to the Universal Service funding requirements. These funding requirements could impose significant new costs on our high-speed Internet service. Also, the FCC and some state regulatory commissions direct certain subsidies to telephone companies deploying broadband to areas deemed to be “unserved” or “underserved.” Charter has opposed such subsidies when directed to areas that Charter serves. Despite Charter’s efforts, future subsidies may be directed to areas served by Charter, which could result in subsidized competitors operating in our service territories. State and local governmental organizations have also adopted Internet-related regulations. These various governmental jurisdictions are also considering additional regulations in these and other areas, such as privacy, pricing, service and product quality, and taxation. The adoption of new Internet regulations or the adaptation of existing laws to the Internet could adversely affect our business.



15



Voice Service

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 created a more favorable regulatory environment for us to provide telecommunications and/or competitive voice services than had previously existed. In particular, it established requirements ensuring that competitive telephone companies could interconnect their networks with those providers of traditional telecommunications services to open the market to competition. The FCC has subsequently ruled that competitive telephone companies that support VoIP services, such as those we offer our customers, are entitled to interconnection with incumbent providers of traditional telecommunications services, which ensures that our VoIP services can compete in the market. Since that time, the FCC has initiated a proceeding to determine whether such interconnection rights should extend to traditional and competitive networks utilizing IP technology, and how to encourage the transition to IP networks throughout the industry. New rules or obligations arising from these proceedings may affect our ability to compete in the provision of voice services. On November 18, 2011, the FCC released an order significantly changing the rules governing intercarrier compensation payments for the origination and termination of telephone traffic between carriers. The new rules will result in a substantial decrease in intercarrier compensation payments over a multi-year period. We received intercarrier compensation of approximately $21 million, $19 million and $23 million for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively. The decreases over the multi-year transition will affect both the amounts that Charter pays to other carriers and the amounts that Charter receives from other carriers. The schedule and magnitude of these decreases, however, will vary depending on the nature of the carriers and the telephone traffic at issue, and the FCC's new ruling initiates further implementation rulemakings. We cannot yet predict with certainty the balance of the impact on Charter's revenues and expenses for voice services at particular times over this multi-year period.

Further regulatory changes are being considered that could impact our voice business and that of our primary telecommunications competitors. The FCC and state regulatory authorities are considering, for example, whether certain common carrier regulations traditionally applied to incumbent local exchange carriers should be modified or reduced, and the extent to which common carrier requirements should be extended to VoIP providers. The FCC has already determined that certain providers of voice services using Internet Protocol technology must comply with requirements relating to 911 emergency services (“E911”), the CALEA regarding law enforcement surveillance of communications, Universal Service Fund contributions, customer privacy and Customer Proprietary Network Information issues, number portability, disability access, regulatory fees, and discontinuance of service. In March 2007, a federal appeals court affirmed the FCC’s decision concerning federal regulation of certain VoIP services, but declined to specifically find that VoIP service provided by cable companies, such as we provide, should be regulated only at the federal level. As a result, some states have begun proceedings to subject cable VoIP services to state level regulation. Although we have registered with, or obtained certificates or authorizations from, the FCC and the state regulatory authorities in those states in which we offer competitive voice services in order to ensure the continuity of our services and to maintain needed network interconnection arrangements, it is unclear whether and how these and other ongoing regulatory matters ultimately will be resolved. In addition, in 2013 the FCC issued a broad data collection order that will require providers of point to point transport (“special access”) services, such as Charter, to produce information to the agency concerning the rates, terms and conditions of these services. The FCC will use the data to evaluate whether the market for such services is competitive, or whether the market should be subject to further regulation, which may increase our costs or constrain our ability to compete in this market.

Employees

As of December 31, 2013, we had approximately 21,600 full-time equivalent employees. At December 31, 2013, approximately 90 of our employees were represented by collective bargaining agreements. We have never experienced a work stoppage.

Item 1A.     Risk Factors.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

We have a significant amount of debt and may incur significant additional debt, including secured debt, in the future, which could adversely affect our financial health and our ability to react to changes in our business.

We have a significant amount of debt and may (subject to applicable restrictions in our debt instruments) incur additional debt in the future. As of December 31, 2013, our total principal amount of debt was approximately $14.2 billion.

Our significant amount of debt could have consequences, such as:

impact our ability to raise additional capital at reasonable rates, or at all;
make us vulnerable to interest rate increases, because approximately 16% of our borrowings are, and may continue to be, subject to variable rates of interest;


16



expose us to increased interest expense to the extent we refinance existing debt, particularly our bank debt, with higher cost debt;
require us to dedicate a significant portion of our cash flow from operating activities to make payments on our debt, reducing our funds available for working capital, capital expenditures, and other general corporate expenses;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business, the cable and telecommunications industries, and the economy at large;
place us at a disadvantage compared to our competitors that have proportionately less debt; and
adversely affect our relationship with customers and suppliers.

If current debt amounts increase, the related risks that we now face will intensify.

The agreements and instruments governing our debt contain restrictions and limitations that could significantly affect our ability to operate our business, as well as significantly affect our liquidity.

Our credit facilities and the indentures governing our debt contain a number of significant covenants that could adversely affect our ability to operate our business, our liquidity, and our results of operations. These covenants restrict, among other things, our and our subsidiaries’ ability to:

incur additional debt;
repurchase or redeem equity interests and debt;
issue equity;
make certain investments or acquisitions;
pay dividends or make other distributions;
dispose of assets or merge;
enter into related party transactions; and
grant liens and pledge assets.

Additionally, the Charter Operating credit facilities require Charter Operating to comply with a maximum total leverage covenant and a maximum first lien leverage covenant. The breach of any covenants or obligations in our indentures or credit facilities, not otherwise waived or amended, could result in a default under the applicable debt obligations and could trigger acceleration of those obligations, which in turn could trigger cross defaults under other agreements governing our long-term indebtedness. In addition, the secured lenders under the Charter Operating credit facilities and the secured lenders under the CCO Holdings credit facility could foreclose on their collateral, which includes equity interests in our subsidiaries, and exercise other rights of secured creditors.

We depend on generating sufficient cash flow to fund our debt obligations, capital expenditures, and ongoing operations.

We are dependent on our cash on hand and cash flow from operations to fund our debt obligations, capital expenditures and ongoing operations.

Our ability to service our debt and to fund our planned capital expenditures and ongoing operations will depend on our ability to continue to generate cash flow and our access (by dividend or otherwise) to additional liquidity sources at the applicable obligor. Our ability to continue to generate cash flow is dependent on many factors, including:

our ability to sustain and grow revenues and cash flow from operations by offering video, Internet, voice, advertising and other services to residential and commercial customers, to adequately meet the customer experience demands in our markets and to maintain and grow our customer base, particularly in the face of increasingly aggressive competition, the need for innovation and the related capital expenditures and the difficult economic conditions in the United States;
the impact of competition from other market participants, including but not limited to incumbent telephone companies, direct broadcast satellite operators, wireless broadband and telephone providers, DSL providers and video provided over the Internet;
general business conditions, economic uncertainty or downturn, high unemployment levels and the level of activity in the housing sector;
our ability to obtain programming at reasonable prices or to raise prices to offset, in whole or in part, the effects of higher programming costs (including retransmission consents);
the development and deployment of new products and technologies including in connection with our plan to make our systems all-digital in 2014; and
the effects of governmental regulation on our business.


17




Some of these factors are beyond our control. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow or we are unable to access additional liquidity sources, we may not be able to service and repay our debt, operate our business, respond to competitive challenges, or fund our other liquidity and capital needs.

Restrictions in our subsidiaries' debt instruments and under applicable law limit their ability to provide funds to us and our subsidiaries that are debt issuers.

Our primary assets are our equity interests in our subsidiaries. Our operating subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities and are not obligated to make funds available to their debt issuer holding companies for payments on our notes or other obligations in the form of loans, distributions, or otherwise. Charter Operating’s ability to make distributions to us or CCO Holdings, our other primary debt issuer, to service debt obligations is subject to its compliance with the terms of its credit facilities, and restrictions under applicable law. See “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources — Limitations on Distributions” and “— Summary of Restrictive Covenants of Our Notes – Restrictions on Distributions.” Under the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act (the “Act”), our subsidiaries may only make distributions if the relevant entity has “surplus” as defined in the Act. Under fraudulent transfer laws, our subsidiaries may not pay dividends if the relevant entity is insolvent or is rendered insolvent thereby. The measures of insolvency for purposes of these fraudulent transfer laws vary depending upon the law applied in any proceeding to determine whether a fraudulent transfer has occurred. Generally, however, an entity would be considered insolvent if:

the sum of its debts, including contingent liabilities, was greater than the fair saleable value of all its assets;
the present fair saleable value of its assets was less than the amount that would be required to pay its probable liability on its existing debts, including contingent liabilities, as they become absolute and mature; or
it could not pay its debts as they became due.

While we believe that our relevant subsidiaries currently have surplus and are not insolvent, these subsidiaries may become insolvent in the future. Our direct or indirect subsidiaries include the borrowers under the CCO Holdings credit facility and the borrowers and guarantors under the Charter Operating credit facilities. CCO Holdings is also an obligor under its senior notes. As of December 31, 2013, our total principal amount of debt was approximately $14.2 billion.

In the event of bankruptcy, liquidation, or dissolution of one or more of our subsidiaries, that subsidiary's assets would first be applied to satisfy its own obligations, and following such payments, such subsidiary may not have sufficient assets remaining to make payments to its parent company as an equity holder or otherwise. In that event:

the lenders under CCO Holdings’ credit facility and Charter Operating's credit facilities, whose interests are secured by substantially all of our operating assets, and all holders of other debt of CCO Holdings and Charter Operating, will have the right to be paid in full before us from any of our subsidiaries' assets; and
CCH I, the holder of preferred membership interests in our subsidiary, CC VIII, would have a claim on a portion of CC VIII’s assets that may reduce the amounts available for repayment to holders of CCO Holdings' outstanding notes.
 
All of our outstanding debt is subject to change of control provisions. We may not have the ability to raise the funds necessary to fulfill our obligations under our indebtedness following a change of control, which would place us in default under the applicable debt instruments.

We may not have the ability to raise the funds necessary to fulfill our obligations under our notes and our credit facilities following a change of control. Under the indentures governing our notes and the CCO Holdings credit facility, upon the occurrence of specified change of control events, CCO Holdings is required to offer to repurchase all of its outstanding notes and the debt under its credit facility. However, we may not have sufficient access to funds at the time of the change of control event to make the required repurchase of the applicable notes and the debt under the CCO Holdings credit facility, and Charter Operating is limited in its ability to make distributions or other payments to CCO Holdings to fund any required repurchase. In addition, a change of control under the Charter Operating credit facilities would result in a default under those credit facilities. Because such credit facilities are obligations of Charter Operating, the credit facilities would have to be repaid before Charter Operating's assets could be available to CCO Holdings to repurchase their notes. Any failure to make or complete a change of control offer would place CCO Holdings in default under its notes and credit facility. The failure of our subsidiaries to make a change of control offer or repay the amounts accelerated under their notes and credit facilities would place them in default.



18



Risks Related to Our Business 

We operate in a very competitive business environment, which affects our ability to attract and retain customers and can adversely affect our business and operations.

The industry in which we operate is highly competitive and has become more so in recent years. In some instances, we compete against companies with fewer regulatory burdens, better access to financing, greater personnel resources, greater resources for marketing, greater and more favorable brand name recognition, and long-established relationships with regulatory authorities and customers. Increasing consolidation in the cable industry and the repeal of certain ownership rules have provided additional benefits to certain of our competitors, either through access to financing, resources, or efficiencies of scale. We could also face additional competition from multi-channel video providers if they began distributing video over the Internet to customers residing outside their current territories.

Our principal competitors for video services throughout our territory are DBS providers. The two largest DBS providers are DirecTV and DISH Network. Competition from DBS, including intensive marketing efforts with aggressive pricing, exclusive programming and increased HD broadcasting has had an adverse impact on our ability to retain customers. DBS companies have also expanded their activities in the MDU market.

Telephone companies, including two major telephone companies, AT&T and Verizon, offer video and other services in competition with us, and we expect they will increasingly do so in the future. Upgraded portions of these networks carry two-way video, data services and provide digital voice services similar to ours. In the case of Verizon, FIOS high-speed data services offer speeds as high as or higher than ours. In addition, these companies continue to offer their traditional telephone services, as well as service bundles that include wireless voice services provided by affiliated companies. Based on our internal estimates, we believe that AT&T and Verizon are offering video services in areas serving approximately 30% and 4%, respectively, of our estimated passings and we have experienced customer losses in these areas. AT&T and Verizon have also launched campaigns to capture more of the MDU market. AT&T has publicly stated that it expects to roll out its video product beyond the territories currently served although it is unclear where and to what extent. When AT&T or Verizon have introduced or expanded their offering of video products in our market areas, we have seen a decrease in our video revenue as AT&T and Verizon typically roll out aggressive marketing and discounting campaigns to launch their products.

With respect to our Internet access services, we face competition, including intensive marketing efforts and aggressive pricing, from telephone companies, primarily AT&T and Verizon, and other providers of DSL, fiber-to-the-node and fiber-to-the-home services. DSL service competes with our Internet service and is often offered at prices lower than our Internet services, although often at speeds lower than the speeds we offer. Fiber-to-the-node networks can provide faster Internet speeds than conventional DSL, but still cannot typically match our Internet speeds. Fiber-to-the-home networks, however, can provide Internet speeds equal to or greater than our current Internet speeds. In addition, in many of our markets, DSL providers have entered into co-marketing arrangements with DBS providers to offer service bundles combining video services provided by a DBS provider with DSL and traditional telephone and wireless services offered by the telephone companies and their affiliates. These service bundles offer customers similar pricing and convenience advantages as our bundles.

Continued growth in our residential voice business faces risks. The competitive landscape for residential and commercial telephone services is intense; we face competition from providers of Internet telephone services, as well as incumbent telephone companies. Further, we face increasing competition for residential voice services as more consumers in the United States are replacing traditional telephone service with wireless service. We expect to continue to price our voice product aggressively as part of our triple play strategy which could negatively impact our revenue from voice services to the extent we do not increase volume.

The existence of more than one cable system operating in the same territory is referred to as an overbuild. Overbuilds could adversely affect our growth, financial condition, and results of operations, by creating or increasing competition. We are aware of traditional overbuild situations impacting certain of our markets, however, we are unable to predict the extent to which additional overbuild situations may occur.

In order to attract new customers, from time to time we make promotional offers, including offers of temporarily reduced price or free service. These promotional programs result in significant advertising, programming and operating expenses, and also may require us to make capital expenditures to acquire and install customer premise equipment. Customers who subscribe to our services as a result of these offerings may not remain customers following the end of the promotional period. A failure to retain customers could have a material adverse effect on our business.



19



Mergers, joint ventures, and alliances among franchised, wireless, or private cable operators, DBS providers, local exchange carriers, and others, may provide additional benefits to some of our competitors, either through access to financing, resources, or efficiencies of scale, or the ability to provide multiple services in direct competition with us.

In addition to the various competitive factors discussed above, our business is subject to risks relating to increasing competition for the leisure and entertainment time of consumers. Our business competes with all other sources of entertainment and information delivery, including broadcast television, movies, live events, radio broadcasts, home video products, console games, print media, and the Internet. Further, due to consumer electronic innovations, content owners are allowing consumers to watch Internet-delivered content on televisions, personal computers, tablets, gaming boxes connected to televisions and mobile devices, some without charging a fee to access the content. Technological advancements, such as video-on-demand, new video formats, and Internet streaming and downloading, have increased the number of entertainment and information delivery choices available to consumers, and intensified the challenges posed by audience fragmentation. The increasing number of choices available to audiences could also negatively impact advertisers’ willingness to purchase advertising from us, as well as the price they are willing to pay for advertising. If we do not respond appropriately to further increases in the leisure and entertainment choices available to consumers, our competitive position could deteriorate, and our financial results could suffer.

Our services may not allow us to compete effectively. Additionally, as we expand our offerings to introduce new and enhanced services, we will be subject to competition from other providers of the services we offer. Competition may reduce our expected growth of future cash flows which may contribute to future impairments of our franchises and goodwill.

Economic conditions in the United States may adversely impact the growth of our business.
We believe that continued competition and the prolonged recovery of economic conditions in the United States, including mixed recovery in the housing market and relatively high unemployment levels, have adversely affected consumer demand for our services, particularly basic video. We believe competition from wireless and economic factors have contributed to an increase in the number of homes that replace their traditional telephone service with wireless service thereby impacting the growth of our voice business. If these conditions do not improve, we believe our business and results of operations will be further adversely affected which may contribute to future impairments of our franchises and goodwill.

Our exposure to the credit risks of our customers, vendors and third parties could adversely affect our cash flow, results of operations and financial condition.

We are exposed to risks associated with the potential financial instability of our customers, many of whom have been adversely affected by the general economic downturn. Declines in the housing market, including foreclosures, together with significant unemployment, may cause increased cancellations by our customers or lead to unfavorable changes in the mix of products purchased. These events have adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect our cash flow, results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, we are susceptible to risks associated with the potential financial instability of the vendors and third parties on which we rely to provide products and services or to which we outsource certain functions. The same economic conditions that may affect our customers, as well as volatility and disruption in the capital and credit markets, also could adversely affect vendors and third parties and lead to significant increases in prices, reduction in output or the bankruptcy of our vendors or third parties upon which we rely. Any interruption in the services provided by our vendors or by third parties could adversely affect our cash flow, results of operation and financial condition.

We face risks inherent in our commercial business.
 
We may encounter unforeseen difficulties as we increase the scale of our service offerings to businesses. We sell Internet access, data networking and fiber connectivity to cellular towers and office buildings, video and business voice services to businesses and have increased our focus on growing this business. In order to grow our commercial business, we expect to increase expenditures on technology, equipment and personnel focused on the commercial business. Commercial business customers often require service level agreements and generally have heightened customer expectations for reliability of services. If our efforts to build the infrastructure to scale the commercial business are not successful, the growth of our commercial services business would be limited. We depend on interconnection and related services provided by certain third parties for the growth of our commercial business. As a result, our ability to implement changes as the services grow may be limited. If we are unable to meet these service level requirements or expectations, our commercial business could be adversely affected. Finally, we expect advances in communications technology, as well as changes in the marketplace and the regulatory and legislative environment. Consequently, we are unable to predict the effect that ongoing or future developments in these areas might have on our voice and commercial businesses and operations.


20




We may not have the ability to reduce the high growth rates of, or pass on to our customers, our increasing programming costs, which would adversely affect our cash flow and operating margins.

Programming has been, and is expected to continue to be, our largest operating expense item. In recent years, the cable industry has experienced a rapid escalation in the cost of programming. We expect programming costs to continue to increase because of a variety of factors including amounts paid for retransmission consent, annual increases imposed by programmers with additional selling power as a result of media consolidation, additional programming, including new sports services and non-linear programming for on-line and OnDemand platforms. The inability to fully pass these programming cost increases on to our customers has had an adverse impact on our cash flow and operating margins associated with the video product. We have programming contracts that have expired and others that will expire at or before the end of 2014. There can be no assurance that these agreements will be renewed on favorable or comparable terms. To the extent that we are unable to reach agreement with certain programmers on terms that we believe are reasonable, we may be forced to remove such programming channels from our line-up, which could result in a further loss of customers.

Increased demands by owners of some broadcast stations for carriage of other services or payments to those broadcasters for retransmission consent are likely to further increase our programming costs. Federal law allows commercial television broadcast stations to make an election between “must-carry” rights and an alternative “retransmission-consent” regime. When a station opts for the latter, cable operators are not allowed to carry the station’s signal without the station’s permission. In some cases, we carry stations under short-term arrangements while we attempt to negotiate new long-term retransmission agreements. If negotiations with these programmers prove unsuccessful, they could require us to cease carrying their signals, possibly for an indefinite period. Any loss of stations could make our video service less attractive to customers, which could result in less subscription and advertising revenue. In retransmission-consent negotiations, broadcasters often condition consent with respect to one station on carriage of one or more other stations or programming services in which they or their affiliates have an interest. Carriage of these other services, as well as increased fees for retransmission rights, may increase our programming expenses and diminish the amount of capacity we have available to introduce new services, which could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

Our inability to respond to technological developments and meet customer demand for new products and services could limit our ability to compete effectively.

Our business is characterized by rapid technological change and the introduction of new products and services, some of which are bandwidth-intensive. We may not be able to fund the capital expenditures necessary to keep pace with technological developments, execute the plans to do so, or anticipate the demand of our customers for products and services requiring new technology or bandwidth. The testing and implementation of our network-based user interface may ultimately be unsuccessful or more expensive than anticipated. The completion of our plan to become all-digital in 2014 could be delayed or cost more than the anticipated $400 million in our 2014 plan. Our inability to maintain and expand our upgraded systems including through the completion of our all-digital plan and provide advanced services such as a state of the art user interface in a timely manner, or to anticipate the demands of the marketplace, could materially adversely affect our ability to attract and retain customers. Consequently, our growth, financial condition and results of operations could suffer materially.

We depend on third party service providers, suppliers and licensors; thus, if we are unable to procure the necessary services, equipment, software or licenses on reasonable terms and on a timely basis, our ability to offer services could be impaired, and our growth, operations, business, financial results and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

We depend on third party service providers, suppliers and licensors to supply some of the services, hardware, software and operational support necessary to provide some of our services. We obtain these materials from a limited number of vendors, some of which do not have a long operating history or which may not be able to continue to supply the equipment and services we desire. Some of our hardware, software and operational support vendors, and service providers represent our sole source of supply or have, either through contract or as a result of intellectual property rights, a position of some exclusivity. If demand exceeds these vendors’ capacity or if these vendors experience operating or financial difficulties, or are otherwise unable to provide the equipment or services we need in a timely manner, at our specifications and at reasonable prices, our ability to provide some services might be materially adversely affected, or the need to procure or develop alternative sources of the affected materials or services might delay our ability to serve our customers. These events could materially and adversely affect our ability to retain and attract customers, and have a material negative impact on our operations, business, financial results and financial condition. A limited number of vendors of key technologies can lead to less product innovation and higher costs. Our cable systems have historically been restricted to using one of two proprietary conditional access security systems, which we believe has limited the number of manufacturers producing set-top boxes for such systems. As an alternative, under a waiver granted to Charter by the FCC, Charter is currently developing a conditional access security system which may be downloaded into set-top boxes provided by a variety of manufacturers. We believe this new security system will make Charter systems more suitable for set-top boxes


21



provided by additional suppliers; however, we may not be able to develop a conditional access security system, establish these relationships or be able to obtain favorable terms.

We further depend on patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws and licenses to establish and maintain our intellectual property rights in technology and the products and services used in our operating activities. Any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged or invalidated, or such intellectual property rights may not be sufficient to permit us to continue to use certain intellectual property, which could result in discontinuance of certain product or service offerings or other competitive harm, our incurring substantial monetary liability or being enjoined preliminarily or permanently from further use of the intellectual property in question.

Various events could disrupt our networks, information systems or properties and could impair our operating activities and negatively impact our reputation.

Network and information systems technologies are critical to our operating activities, as well as our customers' access to our services. We may be subject to information technology system failures and network disruptions. Malicious and abusive activities, such as the dissemination of computer viruses, worms, and other destructive or disruptive software, computer hackings, social engineering, process breakdowns, denial of service attacks and other malicious activities have become more common in industry overall.  If directed at us or technologies upon which we depend, these activities could have adverse consequences on our network and our customers, including degradation of service, excessive call volume to call centers, and damage to our or our customers' equipment and data.  Further, these activities could result in security breaches, such as misappropriation, misuse, leakage, falsification or accidental release or loss of information maintained in our information technology systems and networks, and in our vendors’ systems and networks, including customer, personnel and vendor data. System failures and network disruptions may also be caused by natural disasters, accidents, power disruptions or telecommunications failures. If a significant incident were to occur, it could damage our reputation and credibility, lead to customer dissatisfaction and, ultimately, loss of customers or revenue, in addition to increased costs to service our customers and protect our network. These events also could result in large expenditures to repair or replace the damaged properties, networks or information systems or to protect them from similar events in the future. System redundancy may be ineffective or inadequate, and our disaster recovery planning may not be sufficient for all eventualities.  Any significant loss of Internet customers or revenue, or significant increase in costs of serving those customers, could adversely affect our growth, financial condition and results of operations.

For tax purposes, we could experience a deemed ownership change in the future that could limit our ability to use our tax loss carryforwards.

As of December 31, 2013, we had approximately $8.3 billion of federal tax net operating loss carryforwards resulting in a gross deferred tax asset of approximately $2.9 billion. Federal tax net operating loss carryforwards expire in the years 2021 through 2033. These losses resulted from the operations of Charter Holdco and its subsidiaries. In addition, as of December 31, 2013, we had state tax net operating loss carryforwards resulting in a gross deferred tax asset (net of federal tax benefit) of approximately $276 million. State tax net operating loss carryforwards generally expire in the years 2014 through 2033. Due to uncertainties in projected future taxable income, valuation allowances have been established against the gross deferred tax assets for book accounting purposes, except for future taxable income that will result from the reversal of existing temporary differences for which deferred tax liabilities are recognized. Such tax loss carryforwards can accumulate and be used to offset our future taxable income.

The consummation of the Plan generated an “ownership change” as defined in Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and the sale of shares of 27% of the beneficial amount of our common stock by Apollo Management, L.P. and certain related funds, Oaktree Opportunities Investments, L.P. and certain related funds and funds affiliated with Crestview Partners, L.P. to Liberty Media Corporation resulted in a second "ownership change" pursuant to Section 382. In general, an “ownership change” occurs whenever the percentage of the stock of a corporation owned, directly or indirectly, by “5-percent stockholders” (within the meaning of Section 382 of the Code) increases by more than 50 percentage points over the lowest percentage of the stock of such corporation owned, directly or indirectly, by such “5-percent stockholders” at any time over the preceding three years. As a result, we are subject to an annual limitation on the use of our loss carryforwards which existed at November 30, 2009 for the first "ownership change" and those that existed at May 1, 2013 for the second "ownership change." The limitation on our ability to use our loss carryforwards, in conjunction with the loss carryforward expiration provisions, could reduce our ability to use a portion of our loss carryforwards to offset future taxable income, which could result in us being required to make material cash tax payments. Our ability to make such income tax payments, if any, will depend at such time on our liquidity or our ability to raise additional capital, and/or on receipt of payments or distributions from Charter Holdco and its subsidiaries.

If we were to experience a third ownership change in the future (as a result of purchases and sales of stock by our "5-percent stockholders," new issuances or redemptions of our stock, certain acquisitions of our stock and issuances, redemptions, sales or


22



other dispositions or acquisitions of interests in our "5-percent stockholders"), our ability to use our loss carryforwards could become subject to further limitations. Our common stock is subject to certain transfer restrictions contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. These restrictions, which are designed to minimize the likelihood of an ownership change occurring and thereby preserve our ability to utilize our loss carryforwards, are not currently operative but could become operative in the future if certain events occur and the restrictions are imposed by our board of directors. However, there can be no assurance that our board of directors would choose to impose these restrictions or that such restrictions, if imposed, would prevent an ownership change from occurring.

If we are unable to retain key employees, our ability to manage our business could be adversely affected.

Our operational results have depended, and our future results will depend, upon the retention and continued performance of our management team. Our ability to retain and hire new key employees for management positions could be impacted adversely by the competitive environment for management talent in the broadband communications industry. The loss of the services of key members of management and the inability or delay in hiring new key employees could adversely affect our ability to manage our business and our future operational and financial results.

Our inability to successfully acquire and integrate other businesses, assets, products or technologies could harm our operating results.

We actively evaluate acquisitions and strategic investments in businesses, products or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our business or otherwise offer growth or cost-saving opportunities. From time to time, we may enter into letters of intent with companies with which we are negotiating for potential acquisitions or investments, or as to which we are conducting due diligence. An investment in, or acquisition of, complementary businesses, products or technologies in the future could materially decrease the amount of our available cash or require us to seek additional equity or debt financing. We may not be successful in negotiating the terms of any potential acquisition, conducting thorough due diligence, financing the acquisition or effectively integrating the acquired business, product or technology into our existing business and operations. Our due diligence may fail to identify all of the problems, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges of an acquired business, product or technology, including issues related to intellectual property, product quality or product architecture, regulatory compliance practices, revenue recognition or other accounting practices, or employee or customer issues.

Additionally, in connection with any acquisitions we complete, we may not achieve the synergies or other benefits we expected to achieve, and we may incur write-downs, impairment charges or unforeseen liabilities that could negatively affect our operating results or financial position or could otherwise harm our business. Further, contemplating or completing an acquisition and integrating an acquired business, product or technology could divert management and employee time and resources from other matters.

Risks Related to Ownership Position of Liberty Media Corporation

Liberty Media Corporation owns a significant amount of Charter’s common stock, giving it influence over corporate transactions and other matters.

Members of our board of directors include directors who are also officers and directors of our principal stockholder. Dr. John Malone is the Chairman of Liberty Media Corporation, and Mr. Greg Maffei is the president and chief executive officer of Liberty Media Corporation. As of December 31, 2013, Liberty Media Corporation beneficially held approximately 26% of our Class A common stock. Liberty Media Corporation has the right to designate up to four directors as nominees for our board of directors through our 2015 annual meeting of stockholders with one designated director to be appointed to each of the Audit Committee, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Compensation and Benefits Committee. Liberty Media Corporation may be able to exercise substantial influence over all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate action, such as mergers and other business combination transactions should Liberty Media Corporation retain a significant ownership interest in us.  Liberty Media Corporation and its affiliates are not restricted from investing in, and have invested in, and engaged in, other businesses involving or related to the operation of cable television systems, video programming, Internet service, voice or business and financial transactions conducted through broadband interactivity and Internet services.  Liberty Media Corporation and its affiliates may also engage in other businesses that compete or may in the future compete with us.

Liberty Media Corporation's substantial influence over our management and affairs could create conflicts of interest if Liberty Media Corporation faced decisions that could have different implications for it and us.



23



Risks Related to Regulatory and Legislative Matters 

Our business is subject to extensive governmental legislation and regulation, which could adversely affect our business.

Regulation of the cable industry has increased cable operators' operational and administrative expenses and limited their revenues. Cable operators are subject to various laws and regulations including those covering the following:

the provisioning and marketing of cable equipment and compatibility with new digital technologies;
subscriber and employee privacy and data security;
limited rate regulation of video service;
copyright royalties for retransmitting broadcast signals;
when a cable system must carry a particular broadcast station and when it must first obtain retransmission consent to carry a broadcast station;
the provision of channel capacity to unaffiliated commercial leased access programmers;
limitations on our ability to enter into exclusive agreements with multiple dwelling unit complexes and control our inside wiring;
the provision of high-speed Internet service, including net neutrality rules;
the provision of voice communications;
cable franchise renewals and transfers;
equal employment opportunity, emergency alert systems, disability access, technical standards, marketing practices, customer service, and consumer protection; and
approval for mergers and acquisitions often accompanied by the imposition of restrictions and requirements on an applicant's business in order to secure approval of the proposed transaction.

Additionally, many aspects of these laws and regulations are currently the subject of judicial proceedings and administrative or legislative proposals. There are also ongoing efforts to amend or expand the federal, state, and local regulation of some of the services offered over our cable systems, which may compound the regulatory risks we already face, and proposals that might make it easier for our employees to unionize. Congress and various federal agencies are now considering adoption of significant new privacy restrictions, including new restrictions on the use of personal and profiling information for behavioral advertising. In response to recent global data breaches, malicious activity and cyber threats, as well as the general increasing concerns regarding the protection of consumers’ personal information, Congress is considering the adoption of new data security and cybersecurity legislation that could result in additional network and information security requirements for our business. In the event of a data breach or cyber attack, these new laws, as well as existing legal and regulatory obligations, could require significant expenditures to remedy any such breach or attack.

Our cable system franchises are subject to non-renewal or termination. The failure to renew a franchise in one or more key markets could adversely affect our business.

Our cable systems generally operate pursuant to franchises, permits, and similar authorizations issued by a state or local governmental authority controlling the public rights-of-way. Many franchises establish comprehensive facilities and service requirements, as well as specific customer service standards and monetary penalties for non-compliance. In many cases, franchises are terminable if the franchisee fails to comply with significant provisions set forth in the franchise agreement governing system operations. Franchises are generally granted for fixed terms and must be periodically renewed. Franchising authorities may resist granting a renewal if either past performance or the prospective operating proposal is considered inadequate. Franchise authorities often demand concessions or other commitments as a condition to renewal. In some instances, local franchises have not been renewed at expiration, and we have operated and are operating under either temporary operating agreements or without a franchise while negotiating renewal terms with the local franchising authorities.

The traditional cable franchising regime has recently undergone significant change as a result of various federal and state actions.  Some state franchising laws do not allow us to immediately opt into favorable statewide franchising.  In many cases, state franchising laws will result in fewer franchise imposed requirements for our competitors who are new entrants than for us, until we are able to opt into the applicable state franchise.

We cannot assure you that we will be able to comply with all significant provisions of our franchise agreements and certain of our franchisers have from time to time alleged that we have not complied with these agreements. Additionally, although historically we have renewed our franchises without incurring significant costs, we cannot assure you that we will be able to renew, or to renew as favorably, our franchises in the future. A termination of or a sustained failure to renew a franchise in one or more key markets could adversely affect our business in the affected geographic area.



24



Our cable system franchises are non-exclusive. Accordingly, local and state franchising authorities can grant additional franchises and create competition in market areas where none existed previously, resulting in overbuilds, which could adversely affect results of operations.

Our cable system franchises are non-exclusive. Consequently, local and state franchising authorities can grant additional franchises to competitors in the same geographic area or operate their own cable systems. In some cases, local government entities and municipal utilities may legally compete with us without obtaining a franchise from the local franchising authority. As a result, competing operators may build systems in areas in which we hold franchises.

The FCC has adopted rules that streamline entry for new competitors (particularly those affiliated with telephone companies) and reduce franchising burdens for these new entrants. At the same time, a substantial number of states have adopted new franchising laws, principally designed to streamline entry for new competitors, and often provide advantages for these new entrants that are not immediately available to existing operators.

Local franchise authorities have the ability to impose additional regulatory constraints on our business, which could further increase our expenses.

In addition to the franchise agreement, cable authorities in some jurisdictions have adopted cable regulatory ordinances that further regulate the operation of cable systems. This additional regulation increases the cost of operating our business. Local franchising authorities may impose new and more restrictive requirements. Local franchising authorities who are certified to regulate rates in the communities where they operate generally have the power to reduce rates and order refunds on the rates charged for basic service and equipment.

Tax legislation and administrative initiatives or challenges to our tax positions could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.  

We operate cable systems in locations throughout the United States and, as a result, we are subject to the tax laws and regulations of federal, state and local governments. From time to time, various legislative and/or administrative initiatives may be proposed that could adversely affect our tax positions. There can be no assurance that our effective tax rate or tax payments will not be adversely affected by these initiatives. As a result of state and local budget shortfalls due primarily to the recession as well as other considerations, certain states and localities have imposed or are considering imposing new or additional taxes or fees on our services or changing the methodologies or base on which certain fees and taxes are computed. Such potential changes include additional taxes or fees on our services which could impact our customers, combined reporting and other changes to general business taxes, central/unit-level assessment of property taxes and other matters that could increase our income, franchise, sales, use and/or property tax liabilities. In addition, federal, state and local tax laws and regulations are extremely complex and subject to varying interpretations. There can be no assurance that our tax positions will not be challenged by relevant tax authorities or that we would be successful in any such challenge.

Further regulation of the cable industry could impair our ability to raise rates to cover our increasing costs, resulting in increased losses.

Currently, rate regulation of cable systems is strictly limited to the basic service tier and associated equipment and installation activities. However, the FCC and Congress continue to be concerned that cable rate increases are exceeding inflation. It is possible that either the FCC or Congress will further restrict the ability of cable system operators to implement rate increases for our video services or even for our high-speed Internet and voice services. Should this occur, it would impede our ability to raise our rates. If we are unable to raise our rates in response to increasing costs, our losses would increase.

There has been legislative and regulatory interest in requiring cable operators to offer historically combined programming services on an á la carte basis. While any new regulation or legislation designed to enable cable operators to purchase programming on a wholesale basis could be beneficial to Charter, any such new regulation or legislation that limits how we sell programming could adversely affect our business.

Actions by pole owners might subject us to significantly increased pole attachment costs.

Pole attachments are cable wires that are attached to utility poles. Cable system attachments to investor-owned public utility poles historically have been regulated at the federal or state level, generally resulting in favorable pole attachment rates for attachments used to provide cable service. In contrast, utility poles owned by municipalities or cooperatives are not subject to federal regulation and are generally exempt from state regulation. In 2011, the FCC amended its pole attachment rules to promote broadband deployment. The order overall strengthens the cable industry's ability to access investor-owned utility poles on reasonable rates,


25



terms and conditions It also allows for new penalties in certain cases involving unauthorized attachments that could result in additional costs for cable operators. Electric utilities sought review of the 2011 Order at both the FCC and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, but the FCC and the court subsequently affirmed the new rules. Future regulatory changes in this area could impact the pole attachment rates we pay utility companies.

Increasing regulation of our Internet service product could adversely affect our ability to provide new products and services.

On January 14, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Verizon v. FCC, struck down major portions of the FCC’s 2010 “net neutrality” rules governing the operating practices of broadband Internet access providers like us.  The FCC originally designed the rules to ensure an “open Internet” and included three key requirements for broadband providers:  1) a prohibition against blocking websites or other online applications; 2) a prohibition against unreasonable discrimination among Internet users or among different websites or other sources of information; and 3) a transparency requirement compelling the disclosure of network management policies.  The Court struck down the first two requirements, concluding that they constitute “common carrier” restrictions that are not permissible given the FCC’s earlier decision to classify Internet access as an “information service,” rather than a “telecommunications service.”  The Court upheld the FCC’s transparency requirement.

The decision affirmatively recognizes the FCC’s jurisdiction over the Internet, based on Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. As a result, the FCC could, in the future, resurrect the invalidated network neutrality regulations or modify the invalidated regulations so that they restrict broadband practices, but not as rigidly as the regulations the Court just invalidated.  Alternatively, the FCC (or another party) could challenge the recent court ruling by seeking rehearing en banc or Supreme Court review.  Legislation in this area is also possible.  The reimposition of network neutrality restrictions could adversely affect the potential development of advantageous relationships with Internet content providers.  Rules or statutes increasing the regulation of our Internet services could limit our ability to efficiently manage our cable systems and respond to operational and competitive challenges. 
 
Changes in channel carriage regulations could impose significant additional costs on us.

Cable operators also face significant regulation of their video channel carriage. We can be required to devote substantial capacity to the carriage of programming that we might not carry voluntarily, including certain local broadcast signals; local public, educational and government access (“PEG”) programming; and unaffiliated, commercial leased access programming (required channel capacity for use by persons unaffiliated with the cable operator who desire to distribute programming over a cable system). The FCC adopted revised commercial leased access rules (currently stayed while under appeal) which would dramatically reduce the rate we can charge for leasing this capacity and dramatically increase our administrative burdens. Legislation has been introduced in Congress in the past that, if adopted, could impact our carriage of broadcast signals by simultaneously eliminating the cable industry’s compulsory copyright license and the retransmission consent requirements governing cable’s retransmission of broadcast signals. The FCC also continues to consider changes to the rules affecting the relationship between programmers and multichannel video distributors. Future regulatory changes could disrupt existing programming commitments, interfere with our preferred use of limited channel capacity, increase our programming costs, and limit our ability to offer services that would maximize our revenue potential. It is possible that other legal restraints will be adopted limiting our discretion over programming decisions.

Offering voice communications service may subject us to additional regulatory burdens, causing us to incur additional costs.

We offer voice communications services over our broadband network and continue to develop and deploy VoIP services. The FCC has ruled that competitive telephone companies that support VoIP services, such as those we offer our customers, are entitled to interconnect with incumbent providers of traditional telecommunications services, which ensures that our VoIP services can compete in the market. The scope of these interconnection rights are being reviewed in a current FCC proceeding, which may affect our ability to compete in the provision of voice services or result in additional costs. The FCC has also declared that certain VoIP services are not subject to traditional state public utility regulation. The full extent of the FCC preemption of state and local regulation of VoIP services is not yet clear. Expanding our offering of these services may require us to obtain certain additional authorizations. We may not be able to obtain such authorizations in a timely manner, or conditions could be imposed upon such licenses or authorizations that may not be favorable to us. Telecommunications companies generally are subject to other significant regulation which could also be extended to VoIP providers. If additional telecommunications regulations are applied to our VoIP service, it could cause us to incur additional costs. The FCC has already extended certain traditional telecommunications carrier requirements, such as E911, Universal Service fund collection, CALEA, privacy, Customer Proprietary Network Information, number porting, disability and discontinuance of service requirements to many VoIP providers such as us. In November 2011, the FCC released an order significantly changing the rules governing intercarrier compensation payments for the origination and termination of telephone traffic between carriers, including VoIP service providers like us. Several entities have challenged this FCC ruling in federal court, and that case is now pending before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The new rules, as they now


26



stand, will result in a substantial decrease in intercarrier compensation payments over a multi-year period. We received intercarrier compensation of approximately $21 million, $19 million and $23 million for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Further, the FCC’s recent initiative to collect data concerning certain point to point transport (“special access”) services we provide could result in additional regulatory burdens and additional costs.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

Item 2. Properties.

Our principal physical assets consist of cable distribution plant and equipment, including signal receiving, encoding and decoding devices, headend reception facilities, distribution systems, and customer premise equipment for each of our cable systems.

Our cable plant and related equipment are generally attached to utility poles under pole rental agreements with local public utilities and telephone companies, and in certain locations are buried in underground ducts or trenches. We own or lease real property for signal reception sites, and own our service vehicles.

Our subsidiaries generally lease space for business offices. Our headend and tower locations are located on owned or leased parcels of land, and we generally own the towers on which our equipment is located. Charter Holdco owns the land and building for our St. Louis corporate office. We lease space for our offices in Denver, Colorado and for our corporate headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

The physical components of our cable systems require maintenance as well as periodic upgrades to support the new services and products we introduce. See “Item 1. Business – Our Network Technology.” We believe that our properties are generally in good operating condition and are suitable for our business operations.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

Patent Litigation

Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing, L.P. v. Charter Communications, Inc. et. al.  In 2006, Ronald A. Katz Technology Licensing, L.P. filed a lawsuit against Charter and other parties in the U. S. District Court for the District of Delaware alleging that Charter and the other defendants infringed its interactive call processing patents.  In 2007, the lawsuit was combined with other cases filed by Katz in a multi-district litigation proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California for coordinated and consolidated pretrial proceedings.  In 2010, the court denied Katz's motion for summary judgment, struck two affirmative defenses that Charter had raised, invalidated one of the nine remaining claims Katz had asserted and entered a ruling restricting Katz's damages claims by limiting the time period from which Katz may seek damages. A consolidated appeal involving other co-defendants was held, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirming invalidity of certain claims and remanding certain rulings back to the district court for further consideration.  Based on the Federal Circuit's opinion, the district court ordered additional summary judgment briefing and some limited pretrial briefing.  In 2012, the court granted Charter's second motion for summary judgment and invalidated one of the claims asserted against Charter, leaving eight claims. In related litigation against others, the court invalidated four of these patent claims which will result in four claims being asserted against Charter when this ruling is applied in our case. Charter initiated ex parte examinations with the U.S. Patent Office challenging the validity of all eight patent claims asserted against Charter. The Patent Office granted all of these examinations finding a substantial new question as to whether the claims are valid over prior art not previously considered by the Patent Office. When all pretrial proceedings are completed, any matters remaining for trial will be transferred back to the District Court in Delaware.  No trial date has been set.  Charter has recently discussed settlement with Katz and believes the case will settle for an insignificant amount. If a settlement is not ultimately concluded, Charter will continue to vigorously contest this matter although we cannot predict the ultimate outcome of this lawsuit nor can we reasonably estimate a range of possible loss.

We are also defendants, co-defendants or plaintiffs seeking declaratory judgments in several other unrelated lawsuits involving alleged infringement of various patents relating to various aspects of our businesses.  Other industry participants are also defendants or plaintiffs seeking declaratory judgment in certain of these cases.

In the event that a court ultimately determines that we infringe on any intellectual property rights, we may be subject to substantial damages and/or an injunction that could require us or our vendors to modify certain products and services we offer to our subscribers, as well as negotiate royalty or license agreements with respect to the patents at issue.  While we believe the lawsuits are without


27



merit and intend to defend the actions vigorously, no assurance can be given that any adverse outcome would not be material to our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or liquidity.

Other Proceedings

The Montana Department of Revenue ("Montana DOR") generally assesses property taxes on cable companies at 3% and on telephone companies at 6%. Historically, Bresnan's cable and telephone operations have been taxed separately by the Montana DOR. In 2010, the Montana DOR assessed Bresnan as a single telephone business and retroactively assessed it as such for 2007 through 2009. Bresnan filed a declaratory judgment action against the Montana DOR in Montana State Court challenging its property tax classifications for 2007 through 2010. Under Montana law, a taxpayer must first pay a current assessment of disputed property tax in order to challenge such assessment. In accordance with that law, Bresnan paid the disputed 2010, 2011 and 2012 property tax assessments of approximately $5 million, $11 million and $9 million, respectively, under protest. No payments for additional tax for 2007 through 2009, which could be up to approximately $16 million, including interest, were made at that time. On September 26, 2011, the Montana State Court granted Bresnan's summary judgment motion seeking to vacate the Montana DOR's retroactive tax assessments for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Montana DOR's assessment for 2010 was the subject of a trial, which took place the week of October 24, 2011. On July 6, 2012, the Montana State Court entered judgment in favor of Bresnan, ruling that the Montana's DOR 2010 assessment was invalid and contrary to law, vacating the 2010 assessment, and directing that the Montana DOR refund the amounts paid by Bresnan under protest, plus interest and certain costs. The Montana DOR filed a notice of appeal to the Montana Supreme Court on September 20, 2012. The appeal was fully briefed, and was argued to the Montana Supreme Court in September 2013. On December 2, 2013, the Montana Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded the matter to the trial court. We filed a petition for rehearing which was denied on January 7, 2014. At this point, there have been no further proceedings before the trial court, although we have filed pleadings to renew challenges to the Montana DOR’s assessments that had been mooted by the Montana State Court’s prior ruling. With respect to the Montana Supreme Court ruling, our primary remaining course of action is an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. A decision has not been made as to whether this appeal will be pursued. Pending entry of a final judgment, the Montana DOR continues to hold our protest payments aggregating approximately $25 million in escrow and continues to assess our operations as a single telephone business. We will make additional protest payments until a final judgment is entered, including payments for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

We have had communications with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“the EPA”) in connection with a self reporting audit. Pursuant to the audit, we discovered certain compliance issues concerning our reports to the EPA for backup batteries used at our facilities. On January 24, 2014, Charter and the Office of Civil Enforcement for the EPA entered a Consent Agreement to settle this matter.  As part of the Consent Agreement, Charter has agreed to pay a penalty of an immaterial amount to the EPA and the Office of Civil Enforcement has certified that the issues have been corrected and has recommended that the Environmental Appeals Board ratify this settlement.  We do not view this matter as material.

Also, on January 15, 2014, the California Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Alameda County, California District Attorney’s Office, initiated an investigation into whether Charter’s waste disposal policies, practices, and procedures violate the provisions of the California Health and Safety Code, the California Hazardous Waste Control Law, and any of their related regulations.  Charter intends to cooperate with the investigation.  Although this investigation has only just commenced, at this time Charter does not expect that its outcome will have a material effect on our operations, financial condition, or cash flows.

We also are party to other lawsuits and claims that arise in the ordinary course of conducting our business, including lawsuits claiming violation of anti-trust laws and violation of wage and hour laws.  The ultimate outcome of these other legal matters pending against us or our subsidiaries cannot be predicted, and although such lawsuits and claims are not expected individually to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or liquidity, such lawsuits could have in the aggregate a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or liquidity.  Whether or not we ultimately prevail in any particular lawsuit or claim, litigation can be time consuming and costly and injure our reputation.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.



28



PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

(A)
Market Information

Charter’s Class A common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “CHTR.”

 
The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the range of high and low last reported sale price per share of Charter’s Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.

Class A Common Stock
 
 
High
 
Low
2012
 
 
 
 
First quarter
 
$
64.91

 
$
56.15

Second quarter
 
$
70.87

 
$
59.41

Third quarter
 
$
82.54

 
$
71.59

Fourth quarter
 
$
78.54

 
$
67.50

 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
 
 
First quarter
 
$
106.29

 
$
76.19

Second quarter
 
$
128.57

 
$
99.41

Third quarter
 
$
137.29

 
$
119.06

Fourth quarter
 
$
144.02

 
$
125.68


(B)
Holders

As of December 31, 2013, there were approximately 39 holders of record of Charter’s Class A common stock.

(C)
Dividends

Charter has not paid stock or cash dividends on any of its common stock.

Charter would be dependent on distributions from its subsidiaries if Charter were to make any dividends. Covenants in the indentures and credit agreements governing the debt obligations of our subsidiaries restrict their ability to make distributions to us, and accordingly, limit our ability to declare or pay cash dividends. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Future cash dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of Charter’s board of directors and will depend upon, among other things, our future operations and earnings, capital requirements, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and such other factors as Charter’s board of directors may deem relevant.
 


29



(D) Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

The following information is provided as of December 31, 2013 with respect to equity compensation plans:

Plan Category
 
Number of Securities to be Issued Upon Exercise of Outstanding Options, Warrants and Rights
 
Weighted Average Exercise Price of Outstanding Warrants and Rights
 
Number of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
 
3,429,591

(1)
 
$
61.08

 
7,378,794

(1)
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
 

 
 
$

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TOTAL
 
3,429,591

(1)
 
 
 
7,378,794

(1)

(1)
This total does not include 652,988 shares issued pursuant to restricted stock grants made under our 2009 Stock Incentive Plan, which are subject to vesting based on continued employment and market conditions.

For information regarding securities issued under our equity compensation plans, see Note 15 to our accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”



30



(E) Performance Graph

The graph below shows the cumulative total return on Charter’s Class A common stock for the period from December 2, 2009 through December 31, 2013, in comparison to the cumulative total return on Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and a peer group consisting of the national cable operators that are most comparable to us in terms of size and nature of operations. The Company’s peer group consists of Cablevision Systems Corporation ("Cablevision"), Comcast, and TWC.  The results shown assume that $100 was invested on December 2, 2009 in Charter and peer group stock or on November 30, 2009 for the S&P 500 index and that all dividends were reinvested. These indices are included for comparative purposes only and do not reflect whether it is management’s opinion that such indices are an appropriate measure of the relative performance of the stock involved, nor are they intended to forecast or be indicative of future performance of Charter’s Class A common stock.




(F)  Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

During 2013, there were no unregistered sales of securities of the registrant other than those previously reported on a Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Current Report on Form 8-K.



31



(G) Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer

The following table presents Charter's purchases of equity securities completed during the fourth quarter of 2013 representing shares withheld from employees for the payment of taxes upon the vesting of equity awards.





Period



(a)
Total Number of Shares Purchased



(b)
Average Price Paid per Share
(c)
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
(d)
Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
October 1 - 31, 2013
11,451
$
136.68


N/A
November 1 - 30, 2013
11,878
$
132.31


N/A
December 1 - 31, 2013
13,584
$
133.43


N/A

Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

The following table presents selected consolidated financial data for the periods indicated (dollars in millions, except per share data):

 
Successor
 
 
Predecessor
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
One Month Ended December 31,
 
 
Eleven Months Ended November 30,
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
 
2009
 
 
2009
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Statement of Operations Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
$
8,155

 
$
7,504

 
$
7,204

 
$
7,059

 
$
572

 
 
$
6,183

Income (loss) from operations
$
925

 
$
916

 
$
1,041

 
$
1,024

 
$
84

 
 
$
(1,063
)
Interest expense, net
$
(846
)
 
$
(907
)
 
$
(963
)
 
$
(877
)
 
$
(68
)
 
 
$
(1,020
)
Income (loss) before income taxes
$
(49
)
 
$
(47
)
 
$
(70
)
 
$
58

 
$
10

 
 
$
9,748

Net income (loss) – Charter shareholders
$
(169
)
 
$
(304
)
 
$
(369
)
 
$
(237
)
 
$
2

 
 
$
11,364

Basic earnings (loss) per common share
$
(1.65
)
 
$
(3.05
)
 
$
(3.39
)
 
$
(2.09
)
 
$
0.02

 
 
$
30.00

Diluted earnings (loss) per common share
$
(1.65
)
 
$
(3.05
)
 
$
(3.39
)
 
$
(2.09
)
 
$
0.02

 
 
$
12.61

Weighted-average shares outstanding, basic
101,934,630

 
99,657,989

 
108,948,554

 
113,138,461

 
112,078,089

 
 
378,784,231

Weighted-average shares outstanding, diluted
101,934,630

 
99,657,989

 
108,948,554

 
113,138,461

 
114,346,861

 
 
902,067,116

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Balance Sheet Data (end of period):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investment in cable properties
$
16,556

 
$
14,870

 
$
14,843

 
$
15,027

 
$
15,391

 
 
 
Total assets
$
17,295

 
$
15,596

 
$
15,601

 
$
15,737

 
$
16,658

 
 
 
Total debt
$
14,181

 
$
12,808

 
$
12,856

 
$
12,306

 
$
13,322

 
 
 
Charter shareholders’ equity
$
151

 
$
149

 
$
409

 
$
1,478

 
$
1,916

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Financial Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ratio of earnings to fixed charges (a)
N/A

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
1.07

 
1.14

 
 
8.41

Deficiency of earnings to cover fixed charges (a)
$
49

 
$
47

 
$
70

 
N/A

 
N/A

 
 
N/A


(a)
Earnings include income (loss) before non-controlling interest and income taxes plus fixed charges. Fixed charges consist of interest expense and an estimated interest component of rent expense.


32




Comparability of the above information from year to year is affected by acquisitions and dispositions completed by us including the acquisition of Bresnan in July 2013. See “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Overview.” In addition, upon our emergence from bankruptcy, we adopted fresh start accounting. This resulted in us becoming a new entity on December 1, 2009, with a new capital structure, a new accounting basis in the identifiable assets and liabilities assumed and no retained earnings or accumulated losses. Accordingly, the consolidated financial statements on or after December 1, 2009 are not comparable to the consolidated financial statements prior to that date. The financial statements for the periods ended November 30, 2009 do not include the effect of any changes in our capital structure or changes in the fair value of assets and liabilities as a result of fresh start accounting.

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Reference is made to “Part I. Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” which describe important factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations and non-historical information contained herein. In addition, the following discussion should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes thereto of Charter Communications, Inc. and subsidiaries included in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Overview

We are a cable operator providing services in the United States with approximately 5.9 million residential and commercial customers at December 31, 2013. We offer our customers traditional cable video programming, Internet services, and voice services, as well as advanced video services such as OnDemandTM, HD television and DVR service. We also sell local advertising on cable networks and provide fiber connectivity to cellular towers. See “Part I. Item 1. Business — Products and Services” for further description of these services, including “customers.”

Our most significant competitors are DBS providers and certain telephone companies that offer services that provide features and functions similar to our video, high-speed Internet, and voice services, including in some cases wireless services, and they also offer these services in bundles similar to ours.  See “Business — Competition.”  In the recent past, we have grown revenues by offsetting basic video customer losses with price increases and sales of incremental services such as high-speed Internet, OnDemand, DVR and HD television.  We expect to continue to grow revenues by increasing the number of products in our current customer homes and obtaining new customers with an improved value offering. In addition, we expect to increase revenues by expanding the sales of services to our commercial customers.  However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to grow revenues or maintain our margins at recent historical rates.

Our business plans include goals for increasing customers and revenue. To reach our goals, we have actively invested in our network and operations, and have improved the quality and value of the products and packages that we offer. We have enhanced our video product by increasing digital and HD-DVR penetration, offering more HD channels, and deemphasizing our analog service. During the second quarter of 2012, we simplified our offers and pricing and improved our packaging of products to bring more value to new and existing customers. As part of our effort to create more value for customers, we have focused on driving penetration of our triple play offering, which includes more than 100 HD channels, video on demand, Internet service, and fully featured voice service. In addition, we have implemented a number of changes to our organizational structure, selling methods and operating tactics. We are increasingly insourcing our field operations, call center and direct sales workforces and modifying the way our sales workforce is compensated, which we believe positions us for better customer service and growth. We expect that our enhanced product set combined with improved customer service will lead to lower customer churn and longer customer lifetimes, allowing us to grow our customer base and revenue more quickly and economically. We expect our capital expenditures to remain elevated as we strive to increase digital and HD-DVR penetration, place higher levels of customer premise equipment per transaction and progressively move to an all-digital platform.

In July 2013, Charter and Charter Operating acquired Bresnan from a wholly owned subsidiary of Cablevision, for $1.625 billion in cash, subject to a working capital adjustment and a reduction for certain funded indebtedness of Bresnan (the "Bresnan Acquisition"). Bresnan manages cable operating systems in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah that pass approximately 670,000 homes and serve approximately 375,000 residential and commercial customer relationships.

Total revenue growth was 9% for the year ended December 31, 2013 compared to the corresponding period in 2012, and 4% for the year ended December 31, 2012 compared to the corresponding period in 2011, due to the Bresnan Acquisition and growth in our video, Internet and commercial businesses. Total revenue growth on a pro forma basis for the Bresnan Acquisition as if it had occurred on January 1, 2011 was 5% for the year ended December 31, 2013 compared to the corresponding period in 2012, and 4% for the year ended December 31, 2012 compared to the corresponding period in 2011. For the years ended December 31,


33



2013, 2012 and 2011, adjusted earnings (loss) before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (“Adjusted EBITDA”) was $2.9 billion, $2.7 billion and $2.7 billion, respectively.  See “—Use of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow” for further information on Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow.  Adjusted EBITDA increased 6% for the year ended December 31, 2013 compared to the corresponding period in 2012 as a result of the Bresnan Acquisition, which contributed $90 million, and an increase in residential and commercial revenues offset by increases in programming costs, costs to service customers and marketing costs. Costs to service customers primarily increased from higher labor to deliver improved products and service levels and greater reconnect expense. Adjusted EBITDA remained flat for the year ended December 31, 2012 compared to the corresponding period in 2011 as a result of an increase in Internet, commercial and advertising revenues offset by higher programming costs, expenses associated with driving higher growth and investments in the customer experience. For the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, our income from operations was $925 million, $916 million and $1.0 billion, respectively. In addition to the factors discussed above, income from operations was affected by increases in depreciation and amortization primarily due to the Bresnan Acquisition.

We believe that continued competition and the prolonged recovery of economic conditions in the United States, including mixed recovery in the housing market and relatively high unemployment levels, have adversely affected consumer demand for our services, particularly video. Historically, our primary video competitors have often offered more HD channels and have typically only offered digital services which have a better picture quality compared to our legacy analog product.  In response, Charter has promoted its digital product and initiated a transition from analog to digital transmission of all channels we distribute, which will result in substantially more HD channels and higher Internet speeds. In the current economic environment, customers have been more willing to consider our competitors' products, partially because of increased marketing highlighting perceived differences between competitive video products, especially when those competitors are often offering significant incentives to switch providers. We also believe some customers have chosen to receive video over the Internet rather than through our OnDemand and premium video services, thereby reducing our video revenues. We believe competition from wireless service operators and economic factors have contributed to an increase in the number of homes that replace their traditional telephone service with wireless service thereby impacting the growth of our telephone business.

If the economic and competitive conditions discussed above do not improve, we believe our business and results of operations will be adversely affected, which may contribute to future impairments of our franchises and goodwill.

Approximately 89% and 87% of our revenues for years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively, are attributable to monthly subscription fees charged to customers for our video, Internet, voice, and commercial services provided by our cable systems. Generally, these customer subscriptions may be discontinued by the customer at any time subject to a fee for certain commercial customers and certain residential customers acquired before July 1, 2012. The remaining 11% and 13% of revenue for fiscal years 2013 and 2012, respectively, is derived primarily from advertising revenues, franchise and other regulatory fee revenues (which are collected by us but then paid to local authorities), pay-per-view and OnDemand programming, installation, processing fees or reconnection fees charged to customers to commence or reinstate service, and commissions related to the sale of merchandise by home shopping services.

Our expenses primarily consist of operating costs, depreciation and amortization expense and interest expense. Operating costs primarily include programming costs, connectivity, franchise and other regulatory costs, the cost to service our customers such as field, network and customer operations costs and marketing costs.

We have a history of net losses.  Our net losses are principally attributable to insufficient revenue to cover the combination of operating expenses, interest expenses that we incur because of our debt, depreciation expenses resulting from the capital investments we have made and continue to make in our cable properties, amortization expenses related to our customer relationship intangibles and non-cash taxes resulting from increases in our deferred tax liabilities.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Certain of our accounting policies require our management to make difficult, subjective and/or complex judgments. Management has discussed these policies with the Audit Committee of Charter’s board of directors, and the Audit Committee has reviewed the following disclosure. We consider the following policies to be the most critical in understanding the estimates, assumptions and judgments that are involved in preparing our financial statements, and the uncertainties that could affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows:

Property, plant and equipment
Capitalization of labor and overhead costs
Valuation and impairment of property, plant and equipment


34



Useful lives of property, plant and equipment
Intangible assets
Valuation and impairment of franchises
Valuation and impairment and amortization of customer relationships
Valuation and impairment of goodwill
Impairment of trademarks
Income taxes
Litigation
Programming agreements

In addition, there are other items within our financial statements that require estimates or judgment that are not deemed critical, such as the allowance for doubtful accounts and valuations of our derivative instruments, if any, but changes in estimates or judgment in these other items could also have a material impact on our financial statements.

Property, plant and equipment

The cable industry is capital intensive, and a large portion of our resources are spent on capital activities associated with extending, rebuilding, and upgrading our cable network. As of December 31, 2013 and 2012, the net carrying amount of our property, plant and equipment (consisting primarily of cable network assets) was approximately $8.0 billion (representing 46% of total assets) and $7.2 billion (representing 46% of total assets), respectively. Total capital expenditures for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011 were approximately $1.8 billion, $1.7 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.

Capitalization of labor and overhead costs. Costs associated with network construction, initial customer installations, installation refurbishments, and the addition of network equipment necessary to provide new or advanced video services, are capitalized. While our capitalization is based on specific activities, once capitalized, we track these costs by fixed asset category at the cable system level, and not on a specific asset basis. For assets that are sold or retired, we remove the estimated applicable cost and accumulated depreciation. Costs capitalized as part of initial customer installations include materials, direct labor, and certain indirect costs. These indirect costs are associated with the activities of personnel who assist in connecting and activating the new service, and consist of compensation and overhead costs associated with these support functions. The costs of disconnecting service at a customer’s dwelling or reconnecting service to a previously installed dwelling are charged to operating expense in the period incurred. Costs for repairs and maintenance are charged to operating expense as incurred, while equipment replacement, including replacement of certain components, and betterments, including replacement of cable drops from the pole to the dwelling, are capitalized.

We make judgments regarding the installation and construction activities to be capitalized. We capitalize direct labor and overhead using standards developed from actual costs and applicable operational data. We calculate standards annually (or more frequently if circumstances dictate) for items such as the labor rates, overhead rates, and the actual amount of time required to perform a capitalizable activity. For example, the standard amounts of time required to perform capitalizable activities are based on studies of the time required to perform such activities. Overhead rates are established based on an analysis of the nature of costs incurred in support of capitalizable activities, and a determination of the portion of costs that is directly attributable to capitalizable activities. The impact of changes that resulted from these studies were not material in the periods presented.

Labor costs directly associated with capital projects are capitalized. Capitalizable activities performed in connection with customer installations include such activities as:

Dispatching a “truck roll” to the customer’s dwelling or business for service connection;
Verification of serviceability to the customer’s dwelling or business (i.e., determining whether the customer’s dwelling is capable of receiving service by our cable network and/or receiving advanced or Internet services);
Customer premise activities performed by in-house field technicians and third-party contractors in connection with customer installations, installation of network equipment in connection with the installation of expanded services, and equipment replacement and betterment; and
Verifying the integrity of the customer’s network connection by initiating test signals downstream from the headend to the customer’s digital set-top box.

Judgment is required to determine the extent to which overhead costs incurred result from specific capital activities, and therefore should be capitalized. The primary costs that are included in the determination of the overhead rate are (i) employee benefits and payroll taxes associated with capitalized direct labor, (ii) direct variable costs associated with capitalizable activities, consisting primarily of installation and construction vehicle costs, (iii) the cost of support personnel, such as dispatchers, who directly assist with capitalizable installation activities, and (iv) indirect costs directly attributable to capitalizable activities.


35




While we believe our existing capitalization policies are appropriate, a significant change in the nature or extent of our system activities could affect management’s judgment about the extent to which we should capitalize direct labor or overhead in the future. We monitor the appropriateness of our capitalization policies, and perform updates to our internal studies on an ongoing basis to determine whether facts or circumstances warrant a change to our capitalization policies. We capitalized internal direct labor and overhead of $219 million, $202 million and $199 million, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Valuation and impairment. We evaluate the recoverability of our property, plant and equipment upon the occurrence of events or changes in circumstances indicating that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Such events or changes in circumstances could include such factors as the impairment of our indefinite life franchises, changes in technological advances, fluctuations in the fair value of such assets, adverse changes in relationships with local franchise authorities, adverse changes in market conditions, or a deterioration of current or expected future operating results. A long-lived asset is deemed impaired when the carrying amount of the asset exceeds the projected undiscounted future cash flows associated with the asset. No impairments of long-lived assets to be held and used were recorded in the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

We utilize the cost approach as the primary method used to establish fair value for our property, plant and equipment in connection with business combinations.  The cost approach considers the amount required to replace an asset by constructing or purchasing a new asset with similar utility, then adjusts the value in consideration of all forms of depreciation as of the appraisal date for physical depreciation and function and economic obsolescence. The cost approach relies on management’s assumptions regarding current material and labor costs required to rebuild and repurchase significant components of our property, plant and equipment along with assumptions regarding the age and estimated useful lives of our property, plant and equipment.

Useful lives of property, plant and equipment. We evaluate the appropriateness of estimated useful lives assigned to our property, plant and equipment, based on annual analysis of such useful lives, and revise such lives to the extent warranted by changing facts and circumstances. Any changes in estimated useful lives as a result of this analysis are reflected prospectively beginning in the period in which the study is completed. Our analysis of useful lives in 2013 did not indicate a change in useful lives.  The effect of a one-year decrease in the weighted average remaining useful life of our property, plant and equipment as of December 31, 2013 would be an increase in annual depreciation expense of approximately $204 million.  The effect of a one-year increase in the weighted average remaining useful life of our property, plant and equipment as of December 31, 2013 would be a decrease in annual depreciation expense of approximately $217 million.

Depreciation expense related to property, plant and equipment totaled $1.6 billion, $1.4 billion and $1.3 billion for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively, representing approximately 22%, 21% and 21% of costs and expenses, respectively. Depreciation is recorded using the straight-line composite method over management’s estimate of the useful lives of the related assets as listed below:

Cable distribution systems………………………………
 
7-20 years
Customer equipment and installations…………………..
 
4-8 years
Vehicles and equipment…………………………………
 
1-6 years
Buildings and leasehold improvements…………………
 
15-40 years
Furniture, fixtures and equipment….……………………
 
6-10 years

Intangible assets

Valuation and impairment of franchises. The net carrying value of franchises as of December 31, 2013 and 2012 was approximately $6.0 billion (representing 35% of total assets) and $5.3 billion (representing 34% of total assets), respectively. Franchise rights represent the value attributed to agreements or authorizations with local and state authorities that allow access to homes in cable service areas. For valuation purposes, they are defined as the future economic benefits of the right to solicit and service potential customers (customer marketing rights), and the right to deploy and market new services to potential customers (service marketing rights).

Franchise intangible assets that meet specified indefinite life criteria are tested for impairment annually, or more frequently as warranted by events or changes in circumstances. In determining whether our franchises have an indefinite life, we considered the likelihood of franchise renewals, the expected costs of franchise renewals, and the technological state of the associated cable systems, with a view to whether or not we are in compliance with any technology upgrading requirements specified in a franchise agreement. We have concluded that as of December 31, 2013 and 2012 all of our franchises qualify for indefinite life treatment.



36



Franchises are aggregated into essentially inseparable units of accounting to conduct valuations. The units of accounting represent geographical clustering of our cable systems into groups. We assess qualitative factors to determine whether the existence of events or circumstances leads to a determination that it is more likely than not that an indefinite lived intangible asset has been impaired. If, after this qualitative assessment, we determine that it is not more likely than not that an indefinite lived intangible asset has been impaired, then no further quantitative testing is necessary. In completing our 2013 and 2012 impairment testing, we evaluated the impact of various factors to the expected future cash flows attributable to our units of accounting and to the assumed discount rate which would be used to present value those cash flows. Such factors included macro-economic and industry conditions including the capital markets, regulatory, and competitive environment, and costs of programming and customer premise equipment along with changes to our organizational structure and strategies. After consideration of these qualitative factors, we concluded that it is more likely than not that the fair value of the franchise assets in each unit of accounting exceeds the carrying value of such assets and therefore did not perform a quantitative analysis in 2013 or 2012.

If we are required to perform a quantitative analysis to test our franchise assets for impairment, we determine the estimated fair value utilizing an income approach model based on the present value of the estimated discrete future cash flows attributable to each of the intangible assets identified assuming a discount rate. The fair value of franchises for impairment testing is determined based on estimated discrete discounted future cash flows using assumptions consistent with internal forecasts. The franchise after-tax cash flow is calculated as the after-tax cash flow generated by the potential customers obtained (less the anticipated customer churn), and the new services added to those customers in future periods. The sum of the present value of the franchises' after-tax cash flow in years 1 through 10 and the continuing value of the after-tax cash flow beyond year 10 yields the fair value of the franchises.

This approach makes use of unobservable factors such as projected revenues, expenses, capital expenditures, and a discount rate applied to the estimated cash flows. The determination of the discount rate is based on a weighted average cost of capital approach, which uses a market participant’s cost of equity and after-tax cost of debt and reflects the risks inherent in the cash flows. We estimate discounted future cash flows using reasonable and appropriate assumptions derived based on Charter’s and its peers’ historical operating performance adjusted for current and expected competitive and economic factors surrounding the cable industry. The estimates and assumptions made in our valuations are inherently subject to significant uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and there is no assurance that these results can be achieved. The primary assumptions for which there is a reasonable possibility of the occurrence of a variation that would significantly affect the measurement value include the assumptions regarding revenue growth, programming expense growth rates, the amount and timing of capital expenditures and the discount rate utilized. The quantitative franchise valuations completed for the year ended December 31, 2011 showed franchise values in excess of book values and thus resulted in no impairment.

Valuation, impairment and amortization of customer relationships. The net carrying value of customer relationships as of December 31, 2013 and 2012 was approximately $1.4 billion (representing 8% of total assets) and $1.4 billion (representing 9% of total assets), respectively. Customer relationships, for valuation purposes, represent the value of the business relationship with existing customers (less the anticipated customer churn), and are calculated by projecting the discrete future after-tax cash flows from these customers, including the right to deploy and market additional services to these customers. The present value of these after-tax cash flows yields the fair value of the customer relationships. The use of different valuation assumptions or definitions of franchises or customer relationships, such as our inclusion of the value of selling additional services to our current customers within customer relationships versus franchises, could significantly impact our valuations and any resulting impairment.

We evaluate the recoverability of customer relationships upon the occurrence of events or changes in circumstances indicating that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Customer relationships are deemed impaired when the carrying value exceeds the projected undiscounted future cash flows associated with the customer relationships. No impairment of customer relationships was recorded in the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Customer relationships are amortized on an accelerated method over useful lives of 8-15 years based on the period over which current customers are expected to generate cash flows. Amortization expense related to customer relationships for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011 was approximately $284 million, $280 million and $306 million, respectively.

Valuation and impairment of goodwill. The net carrying value of goodwill as of December 31, 2013 and 2012 was approximately $1.2 billion (representing 7% of total assets) and $953 million (representing 6% of total assets), respectively. Goodwill is tested for impairment as of November 30 of each year, or more frequently as warranted by events or changes in circumstances. Accounting guidance also permits a qualitative assessment for goodwill to determine whether it is more likely than not that the carrying value of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value. If, after this qualitative assessment, we determine that it is not more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount then no further quantitative testing would be necessary. If we are required to perform the two-step test under the accounting guidance, the first step involves a comparison of the estimated fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying amount. If the estimated fair value of a reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount,


37



goodwill of the reporting unit is not considered impaired and the second step of the goodwill impairment is not necessary. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its estimated fair value, then the second step of the goodwill impairment test must be performed, and a comparison of the implied fair value of the reporting unit’s goodwill is compared to its carrying amount to determine the amount of impairment, if any. The fair value of the reporting unit, when performing the second step of the goodwill impairment test, is determined using a consistent income approach model as that used for franchise impairment testing. As with our franchise impairment testing, in 2013 and 2012, we elected to perform a qualitative assessment for our goodwill impairment testing and concluded that our goodwill is not impaired. Our 2011 quantitative impairment analysis also did not result in any goodwill impairment charges.

Impairment of trademarks. The net carrying value of trademarks as of both December 31, 2013 and 2012 was approximately $158 million (representing 1% of total assets). Trademarks are tested annually for impairment, or more frequently as warranted by events or changes in circumstances. The fair value of trademarks is determined using the relief-from-royalty method which applies a fair royalty rate to estimated revenue. Royalty rates are estimated based on a review of market royalty rates in the communications and entertainment industries. As we expect to continue to use each trade name indefinitely, trademarks have been assigned an indefinite life and are tested annually for impairment using either a qualitative analysis or quantitative analysis as elected by management. The qualitative analysis in 2013 and 2012 did not identify any factors that would indicate that it was more likely than not that the fair value of trademarks were less than the carrying value and thus resulted in no impairment.

Income taxes

All of Charter’s operations are held through Charter Holdco and its direct and indirect subsidiaries. Charter Holdco and the majority of its subsidiaries are generally limited liability companies that are not subject to income tax. However, certain of these limited liability companies are subject to state income tax. In addition, the indirect subsidiaries that are corporations are subject to federal and state income tax. All of the remaining taxable income, gains, losses, deductions and credits of Charter Holdco pass through to Charter and its direct subsidiaries.

As of December 31, 2013, Charter and its indirect corporate subsidiaries had approximately $8.3 billion of federal tax net operating loss carryforwards resulting in a gross deferred tax asset of approximately $2.9 billion. Federal tax net operating loss carryforwards expire in the years 2021 through 2033.  These losses resulted from the operations of Charter Holdco and its subsidiaries. In addition, as of December 31, 2013, Charter and its indirect corporate subsidiaries had state tax net operating loss carryforwards, resulting in a gross deferred tax asset (net of federal tax benefit) of approximately $276 million. State tax net operating loss carryforwards generally expire in the years 2014 through 2033.  Due to uncertainties in projected future taxable income, valuation allowances have been established against the gross deferred tax assets for book accounting purposes, except for future taxable income that will result from the reversal of existing temporary differences for which deferred tax liabilities are recognized.  Such tax loss carryforwards can accumulate and be used to offset Charter’s future taxable income.

As of December 31, 2013, $2.1 billion of federal tax loss carryforwards are unrestricted and available for Charter’s immediate use, while approximately $6.2 billion of federal tax loss carryforwards are still subject to Section 382 and other restrictions. Pursuant to these restrictions, Charter estimates that approximately $2.0 billion, $2.0 billion and $400 million in the years 2014 to 2016, respectively, and an additional $226 million annually over each of the next 8 years of federal tax loss carryforwards, should become unrestricted and available for Charter’s use. Both Charter’s indirect corporate subsidiary and state tax loss carryforwards are subject to similar but varying restrictions.

In addition to its tax loss carryforwards, Charter also has tax basis of $5.2 billion in intangible assets and $5.1 billion in property, plant, and equipment as of December 31, 2013. The tax basis in these assets is not subject to Section 382 limitations and therefore the related amortization and depreciation is currently deductible. For illustrative purposes, Charter expects to reflect tax-deductible amortization and depreciation on assets owned as of December 31, 2013, beginning at approximately $2.2 billion in 2014 and decelerating over the following 4 years, totaling an estimated $6.6 billion over the five year period. The foregoing projected deductions do not include any amortization or depreciation related to future capital spend or potential acquisitions. In addition, the deductions assume Charter does not dispose of a material portion of its business or make modifications to the underlying partnerships it owns, all of which may materially affect the timing or amount of its existing amortization and depreciation deductions. Any one of these factors or future legislation or adjustments by the IRS upon examination could also affect the projected deductions.

As of December 31, 2013 and 2012, we have recorded net deferred income tax liabilities of $1.4 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively. Net deferred tax liabilities included approximately $226 million and $219 million at December 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively, relating to certain indirect subsidiaries of Charter Holdco that file separate federal or state income tax returns.  The remainder of our net deferred tax liability arose from Charter's investment in Charter Holdco, and was largely attributable to the characterization of franchises for financial reporting purposes as indefinite-lived. As part of our net liability, on December 31, 2013 and 2012, we had gross deferred tax assets of $3.9 billion and $3.7 billion, respectively, which primarily relate to tax losses allocated to Charter


38



from Charter Holdco. In assessing the realizability of deferred tax assets, management considers whether it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will be realized.  Due to our history of losses and limitations imposed by Section 382 of the Code discussed above, we were unable to assume future taxable income in our analysis and accordingly valuation allowances have been established except for deferred benefits available to offset certain deferred tax liabilities that will reverse over time.  Accordingly, our gross deferred tax assets have been offset with a corresponding valuation allowance of $3.0 billion and $2.9 billion at December 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively. The amount of the deferred tax assets considered realizable and, therefore, reflected in the consolidated balance sheet, would be increased at such time that it is more-likely-than-not future taxable income will be realized during the carryforward period. At the time this consideration is met, an adjustment to reverse some portion of the existing valuation allowance would result.

In determining our tax provision for financial reporting purposes, Charter establishes a reserve for uncertain tax positions unless such positions are determined to be “more likely than not” of being sustained upon examination, based on their technical merits. In evaluating whether a tax position has met the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold, we presume the position will be examined by the appropriate taxing authority that has full knowledge of all relevant information. A tax position that meets the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold is measured to determine the amount of benefit to be recognized in our financial statements. The tax position is measured as the largest amount of benefit that has a greater than 50% likelihood of being realized when the position is ultimately resolved. There is considerable judgment involved in determining whether positions taken on the tax return are “more likely than not” of being sustained. As of December 31, 2012, we had $202 million of liabilities for uncertain tax positions. As of December 31, 2013, liabilities for uncertain tax positions were reduced to zero.

Charter adjusts its uncertain tax reserve estimates periodically because of ongoing examinations by, and settlements with, the various taxing authorities, as well as changes in tax laws, regulations and interpretations.

No tax years for Charter or Charter Holdco, for income tax purposes, are currently under examination by the Internal Revenue Service.  Tax years ending 2010 through 2013 remain subject to examination and assessment. Years prior to 2010 remain open solely for purposes of examination of Charter’s net operating loss and credit carryforwards.

Litigation

Legal contingencies have a high degree of uncertainty. When a loss from a contingency becomes estimable and probable, a reserve is established. The reserve reflects management's best estimate of the probable cost of ultimate resolution of the matter and is revised as facts and circumstances change. A reserve is released when a matter is ultimately brought to closure or the statute of limitations lapses. We have established reserves for certain matters. Although certain matters are not expected individually to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations or liquidity, such matters could have, in the aggregate, a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.

Programming Agreements
 
We exercise significant judgment in estimating programming expense associated with certain video programming contracts. Our policy is to record video programming costs based on our contractual agreements with our programming vendors, which are generally multi-year agreements that provide for us to make payments to the programming vendors at agreed upon market rates based on the number of customers to which we provide the programming service. If a programming contract expires prior to the parties' entry into a new agreement and we continue to distribute the service, we estimate the programming costs during the period there is no contract in place. In doing so, we consider the previous contractual rates, inflation and the status of the negotiations in determining our estimates. When the programming contract terms are finalized, an adjustment to programming expense is recorded, if necessary, to reflect the terms of the new contract. We also make estimates in the recognition of programming expense related to other items, such as the accounting for free periods, timing of rate increases and credits from service interruptions, as well as the allocation of consideration exchanged between the parties in multiple-element transactions.
 
Significant judgment is also involved when we enter into agreements that result in us receiving cash consideration from the programming vendor, usually in the form of advertising sales, channel positioning fees, launch support or marketing support. In these situations, we must determine based upon facts and circumstances if such cash consideration should be recorded as revenue, a reduction in programming expense or a reduction in another expense category (e.g., marketing).



39



Results of Operations

The following table sets forth the percentages of revenues that items in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations constituted for the periods presented (dollars in millions, except per share data):

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
$
8,155

 
100
%
 
$
7,504

 
100
%
 
$
7,204

 
100
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Costs and Expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Operating costs and expenses (excluding depreciation and amortization)
5,345

 
66
%
 
4,860

 
65
%
 
4,564

 
63
%
Depreciation and amortization
1,854

 
23
%
 
1,713

 
23
%
 
1,592

 
22
%
Other operating expenses, net
31

 
%
 
15

 
%
 
7

 
%
 
7,230

 
89
%
 
6,588

 
88
%
 
6,163

 
86
%
Income from operations
925

 
11
%
 
916

 
12
%
 
1,041

 
14
%
Interest expense, net
(846
)
 
 
 
(907
)
 
 
 
(963
)
 
 
Loss on extinguishment of debt
(123
)
 
 
 
(55
)
 
 
 
(143
)
 
 
Gain on derivative instruments, net
11

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
Other expense, net
(16
)
 
 
 
(1
)
 
 
 
(5
)
 
 
Loss before income taxes
(49
)
 
 
 
(47
)
 
 
 
(70
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income tax expense
(120
)
 
 
 
(257
)
 
 
 
(299
)
 
 
Net loss
$
(169
)
 
 
 
$
(304
)
 
 
 
$
(369
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LOSS PER COMMON SHARE, BASIC AND DILUTED:
$
(1.65
)
 
 
 
$
(3.05
)
 
 
 
$
(3.39
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average common shares outstanding, basic and diluted
101,934,630

 
 
 
99,657,989

 
 
 
108,948,554

 
 

Revenues. Total revenues grew $651 million or 9% in the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to 2012 and grew $300 million or 4% in the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to 2011. Revenue growth primarily reflects increases in the number of residential Internet and triple play customers and in commercial business customers, growth in expanded basic and digital penetration, promotional and annual rate increases, and higher advanced services penetration offset by a decrease in basic video customers and lower advertising sales in a non-political year. Asset acquisitions increased revenues in 2013 as compared to 2012 by approximately $270 million and approximately $20 million in 2012 as compared to 2011.

Revenues by service offering were as follows (dollars in millions):

 
Years ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2013 over 2012
 
2012 over 2011
 
Revenues
 
% of Revenues
 
Revenues
 
% of Revenues
 
Revenues
 
% of Revenues
 
Change
 
% Change
 
Change
 
% Change
Video
$
4,030

 
49
%
 
$
3,639

 
48
%
 
$
3,639

 
51
%
 
$
391

 
11
 %
 
$

 
 %
Internet
2,186

 
27
%
 
1,866

 
25
%
 
1,708

 
24
%
 
320

 
17
 %
 
158

 
9
 %
Voice
644

 
8
%
 
828

 
11
%
 
858

 
12
%
 
(184
)
 
(22
)%
 
(30
)
 
(3
)%
Commercial
822

 
10
%
 
658

 
9
%
 
544

 
8
%
 
164

 
25
 %
 
114

 
21
 %
Advertising sales
291

 
4
%
 
334

 
4
%
 
292

 
4
%
 
(43
)
 
(13
)%
 
42

 
14
 %
Other
182

 
2
%
 
179

 
2
%
 
163

 
2
%
 
3

 
2
 %
 
16

 
10
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
8,155

 
100
%
 
$
7,504

 
100
%
 
$
7,204

 
100
%
 
$
651

 
9
 %
 
$
300

 
4
 %


40




Video revenues consist primarily of revenues from basic and digital video services provided to our non-commercial customers, as well as franchise fees, equipment rental and video installation revenue. Residential basic video customers increased by 188,000 in 2013 and decreased by 155,000 in 2012. However, after giving effect to asset acquisitions and dispositions, residential basic video customers decreased by 109,000 and 154,000 in 2013 and 2012, respectively. The changes in video revenues are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2013 compared to 2012
 
2012 compared to 2011
 
 
 
 
 
Incremental video services, price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
 
$
375

 
$
115

Decrease in basic video customers
 
(98
)
 
(89
)
Decrease in premium purchases
 
(20
)
 
(39
)
Asset acquisitions, net
 
134

 
13

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
391

 
$


Residential Internet customers grew by 598,000 and 293,000 customers in 2013 and 2012, respectively, or 324,000 and 316,000 customers in 2013 and 2012, respectively, after giving effect to asset acquisitions and dispositions. The increases in Internet revenues from our residential customers are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2013 compared to 2012
 
2012 compared to 2011
 
 
 
 
 
Increase in residential Internet customers
 
$
142

 
$
136

Service level changes and price adjustments
 
106

 
17

Asset acquisitions, net
 
72

 
5

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
320

 
$
158


Residential voice customers grew by 359,000 and 123,000 customers in 2013 and 2012, respectively, or 200,000 and 134,000 customers in 2013 and 2012, respectively, after giving effect to asset acquisitions and dispositions. The changes in voice revenues from our residential customers are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2013 compared to 2012
 
2012 compared to 2011
 
 
 
 
 
Price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
 
$
(259
)
 
$
(71
)
Increase in residential voice customers
 
51

 
40

Asset acquisitions, net
 
24

 
1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
(184
)
 
$
(30
)



41



Commercial revenues consist primarily of revenues from services provided to our commercial customers. Commercial PSUs increased 100,000 and 55,000 in 2013 and 2012, respectively, or 64,000 and 65,000 customers in 2013 and 2012, respectively, after giving effect to asset acquisitions and dispositions. The increases in commercial revenues are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2013 compared to 2012
 
2012 compared to 2011
 
 
 
 
 
Sales to small-to-medium sized business customers
 
$
97

 
$
87

Carrier site customers
 
25

 
17

Other
 
11

 
9

Asset acquisitions, net
 
31

 
1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
164

 
$
114


Advertising sales revenues consist primarily of revenues from commercial advertising customers, programmers and other vendors. Advertising sales revenues decreased in 2013 primarily as a result of a decrease in revenue from the political and retail sectors of $30 million and $20 million, respectively. In 2012, advertising sales revenues increased as a result of an increase in revenue from the political and automotive sectors of $20 million and $12 million, respectively. Asset acquisitions increased advertising sales revenue by approximately $7 million in 2013 compared to 2012. For the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, we received $41 million, $59 million and $51 million, respectively, in advertising sales revenues from vendors.

Other revenues consist of home shopping, late payment fees, wire maintenance fees and other miscellaneous revenues. The increases in 2013 and 2012 were primarily the result of increases in late payment fees. Asset acquisitions increased other revenues in 2013 compared to 2012 by approximately $2 million.

Operating costs and expenses. The increases in our operating costs and expenses are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2013 compared to 2012
 
2012 compared to 2011
 
 
 
 
 
Programming
 
$
108

 
$
100

Franchise, regulatory and connectivity
 
(1
)
 
8

Costs to service customers
 
101

 
90

Marketing
 
38

 
34

Other
 
59

 
49

Asset acquisitions
 
180

 
15

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
485

 
$
296


Programming costs were approximately $2.1 billion, $2.0 billion and $1.9 billion, representing 40%, 40% and 41% of operating costs and expenses for each of the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Programming costs consist primarily of costs paid to programmers for basic, digital, premium, OnDemand, and pay-per-view programming. The increases in programming costs are primarily a result of annual contractual rate adjustments, including increases in amounts paid for retransmission consents and for new programming, offset in part by video customer losses. Programming costs were also offset by the amortization of payments received from programmers of $7 million, $6 million and $7 million in 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively. We expect programming expenses to continue to increase due to a variety of factors, including increased demands by owners of some broadcast stations for carriage of other services or payments to those broadcasters for retransmission consent, annual increases imposed by programmers with additional selling power as a result of media consolidation, and additional programming, including new sports services and non-linear programming for on-line and OnDemand programming. We have been unable to fully pass these increases on to our customers nor do we expect to be able to do so in the future without a potential loss of customers.



42



Costs to service customers include residential and commercial costs related to field operations, network operations and customer care including labor, reconnects, maintenance, billing, occupancy and vehicle costs. The increase in costs to service customers during 2013 compared to 2012 was primarily the result of higher spending on labor to deliver improved products and service levels as well as greater reconnect expense. The increase in costs to service customers for the year ended December 31, 2012 was primarily the result of increased preventive maintenance levels and higher service labor.

The increase in marketing costs for the year ended December 31, 2013 was the result of heavier sales activity and sales channel development. The increase in marketing costs for the year ended December 31, 2012 was the result of increased media investment and commercial marketing as well as a $7 million favorable adjustment in the second quarter of 2011 related to expenses previously accrued on 2010 marketing campaigns.

The increases in other expense are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2013 compared to 2012
 
2012 compared to 2011
 
 
 
 
 
Commercial sales expense
 
$
30

 
$
20

Property tax and insurance
 
14

 
(7
)
Bad debt and collections
 
9

 
(18
)
Advertising sales expense
 
6

 
15

Stock compensation expense
 
(2
)
 
15

Administrative labor
 
(4
)
 
10

Other
 
6

 
14

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
59

 
$
49


Commercial sales expense increased in 2013 compared to 2012 and 2012 compared to 2011 and advertising sales expenses increased in 2012 compared to 2011 primarily related to growth in these businesses. The increase in property tax and insurance in 2013 compared to 2012 relates primarily to increases in the number of employees and vehicles. The increase in bad debt in 2013 compared to 2012 is primarily related to an increase in collection expenses while the decrease in 2012 compared to 2011 is primarily due to decreases in write-offs.

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $141 million and $121 million in 2013 and 2012, respectively, which primarily represents depreciation on more recent capital expenditures and the Bresnan Acquisition offset by certain assets becoming fully depreciated.

Other operating expenses, net. The changes in other operating expenses, net are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2013 compared to 2012
 
2012 compared to 2011
 
 
 
 
 
Increases in (gain) loss on sales of assets
 
$
13

 
$
(1
)
Increases in special charges, net
 
3

 
9

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
16

 
$
8


For more information, see Note 14 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Interest expense, net. Net interest expense decreased by $61 million in 2013 from 2012 and $56 million in 2012 from 2011. Net interest expense decreased in 2013 compared to 2012 primarily as a result of a decrease in our weighted average interest rate from 6.5% for the year ended December 31, 2012 to 5.8% for the year ended December 31, 2013 offset by an increase in our weighted average debt outstanding from $13.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2012 to $13.6 billion for the year ended December 31, 2013. Net interest expense decreased in 2012 compared to 2011 primarily as a result of a decrease in our weighted average interest rate from 7.3% for the year ended December 31, 2011 to 6.5% for the year ended December 31, 2012 offset by an increase in our


43



weighted average debt outstanding from $12.6 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011 to $13.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2012.

Loss on extinguishment of debt. Loss on extinguishment of debt consists of the following for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011 (dollars in millions):

 
 
Year ended December 31,
 
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Charter Operating credit amendment / prepayments
 
$
58

 
$
92

 
$
120

CCH II notes redemptions
 

 
(46
)
 
6

Charter Operating notes repurchases
 

 
9

 
17

CCO Holdings notes repurchases
 
65

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
123

 
$
55

 
$
143


For more information, see Note 8 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Gain on derivative instruments, net. Interest rate derivative instruments are held to manage our interest costs and reduce our exposure to increases in floating interest rates. We recognized a gain of $11 million during the year ended December 31, 2013, which represents the change in fair value of our interest rate derivative instruments offset by amortization of our accumulated other comprehensive loss for interest rate derivative instruments no longer designated as hedges for accounting purposes. For more information, see Note 11 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Income tax expense. Income tax expense of $120 million, $257 million and $299 million was recognized for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively, primarily through increases in deferred tax liabilities related to our investment in Charter Holdco and certain of our indirect subsidiaries, in addition to $8 million, $7 million and $9 million of current federal and state income tax expense, respectively. Income tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2013 decreased compared to the corresponding prior period, primarily as a result of step-ups in basis of indefinite-lived assets for tax, but not GAAP purposes, including the effects of partnership gains related to financing transactions and a partnership restructuring, which decreased our net deferred tax liability related to indefinite-lived assets by $137 million. Our tax provision in future periods will vary based on various factors including changes in our deferred tax liabilities attributable to indefinite-lived intangibles, as well as future operating results, however we do not anticipate having such a large reduction in income tax expense attributable to these items unless we enter into similar future financing or restructuring transactions. The ultimate impact on the tax provision of such future financing and restructuring activities, if any, will be dependent on the underlying facts and circumstances at the time. Income tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2011 included an $8 million expense for a state tax law change.

Net loss. We incurred net loss of $169 million, $304 million and $369 million for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively, primarily as a result of the factors described above.

Loss per common share. During 2013 and 2012, net loss per common share decreased by $1.40 and $0.34, respectively, as a result of the factors described above in addition to an increase in our weighted average common shares outstanding primarily as a result of warrant exercises in 2013.

Use of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow

We use certain measures that are not defined by GAAP to evaluate various aspects of our business. Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are non-GAAP financial measures and should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, net loss and net cash flows from operating activities reported in accordance with GAAP. These terms, as defined by us, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies. Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are reconciled to net loss and net cash flows from operating activities, respectively, below.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net loss plus net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, stock compensation expense, loss on extinguishment of debt, gain on derivative instruments, net and other operating expenses, such as special charges


44



and (gain) loss on sale or retirement of assets. As such, it eliminates the significant non-cash depreciation and amortization expense that results from the capital-intensive nature of our businesses as well as other non-cash or special items, and is unaffected by our capital structure or investment activities. Adjusted EBITDA is used by management and Charter’s board of directors to evaluate the performance of our business. However, this measure is limited in that it does not reflect the periodic costs of certain capitalized tangible and intangible assets used in generating revenues and our cash cost of financing. Management evaluates these costs through other financial measures.

Free cash flow is defined as net cash flows from operating activities, less capital expenditures and changes in accrued expenses related to capital expenditures.

We believe that Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow provide information useful to investors in assessing our performance and our ability to service our debt, fund operations and make additional investments with internally generated funds. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA generally correlates to the leverage ratio calculation under our credit facilities or outstanding notes to determine compliance with the covenants contained in the facilities and notes (all such documents have been previously filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission). For the purpose of calculating compliance with leverage covenants, we use Adjusted EBITDA, as presented, excluding certain expenses paid by our operating subsidiaries to other Charter entities. Our debt covenants refer to these expenses as management fees, which fees were in the amount of $201 million, $191 million and $151 million for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

 
Years ended December 31,
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net loss
$
(169
)
 
$
(304
)
 
$
(369
)
Plus: Interest expense, net
846

 
907

 
963

Income tax expense
120

 
257

 
299

Depreciation and amortization
1,854

 
1,713

 
1,592

Stock compensation expense
48

 
50

 
35

Loss on extinguishment of debt
123

 
55

 
143

Gain on derivative instruments, net
(11
)
 

 

Other, net
47

 
16

 
12

 
 
 
 
 
 
Adjusted EBITDA
$
2,858

 
$
2,694

 
$
2,675

 
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash flows from operating activities
$
2,158

 
$
1,876

 
$
1,737

Less: Purchases of property, plant and equipment
(1,825
)
 
(1,745
)
 
(1,311
)
Change in accrued expenses related to capital expenditures
76

 
13

 
57

 
 
 
 
 
 
Free cash flow
$
409

 
$
144

 
$
483


Liquidity and Capital Resources

Introduction

This section contains a discussion of our liquidity and capital resources, including a discussion of our cash position, sources and uses of cash, access to credit facilities and other financing sources, historical financing activities, cash needs, capital expenditures and outstanding debt.

Overview of Our Contractual Obligations and Liquidity

We have significant amounts of debt.  The accreted value of our debt as of December 31, 2013 was $14.2 billion, consisting of $3.9 billion of credit facility debt and $10.3 billion of high-yield notes. Our business requires significant cash to fund principal and interest payments on our debt.  As of December 31, 2013, $414 million of our long-term debt matures in 2014, $65 million in 2015, $93 million in 2016, $1.1 billion in 2017, $673 million in 2018 and $11.9 billion thereafter. As of December 31, 2013, we had other contractual obligations, including interest on our debt, totaling $7.5 billion. During 2014, we currently expect capital expenditures to be approximately $2.2 billion, including approximately $400 million for completion of our 2014 all-digital plan.


45




Our projected cash needs and projected sources of liquidity depend upon, among other things, our actual results, and the timing and amount of our expenditures. Free cash flow was $409 million, $144 million and $483 million for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively. We expect to continue to generate free cash flow for 2014. As of December 31, 2013, the amount available under our credit facilities was approximately $1.1 billion. We expect to utilize free cash flow and availability under our credit facilities as well as future refinancing transactions to further extend the maturities of or reduce the principal on our obligations. The timing and terms of any refinancing transactions will be subject to market conditions. Additionally, we may, from time to time, depending on market conditions and other factors, use cash on hand and the proceeds from securities offerings or other borrowings, to retire our debt through open market purchases, privately negotiated purchases, tender offers, or redemption provisions. We believe we have sufficient liquidity from cash on hand, free cash flow and Charter Operating's revolving credit facility as well as access to the capital markets to fund our projected operating cash needs.

We continue to evaluate the deployment of our anticipated future free cash flow including to reduce our leverage, and to invest in our business growth and other strategic opportunities, including mergers and acquisitions as well as stock repurchases and dividends. As possible acquisitions, swaps or dispositions arise in our industry, we actively review them against our objectives including, among other considerations, improving the operational efficiency and clustering of our business and achieving appropriate return targets, and we may participate to the extent we believe these possibilities present attractive opportunities. However, there can be no assurance that we will actually complete any acquisition, disposition or system swap or that any such transactions will be material to our operations or results. See "Part I. Item 1A. Risk Factors - Our inability to successfully acquire and integrate other businesses, assets, products or technologies could harm our operating results."

Free Cash Flow

Free cash flow was $409 million, $144 million and $483 million for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively. The increase in free cash flow in 2013 compared to 2012 is primarily due to an increase of $164 million in Adjusted EBITDA, a decrease of $141 million in cash paid for interest due to a decrease in our average interest rate and timing of interest payments with the completion of refinancings, and changes in operating assets and liabilities, excluding the change in accrued interest, that provided $31 million more cash during 2013. The increase in free cash flow was offset by an increase of $80 million in capital expenditures of which $59 million was related to Bresnan.

The decrease in free cash flow in 2012 compared to 2011 is primarily due to an increase of $434 million in capital expenditures. The decrease in free cash flow is offset by changes in operating assets and liabilities, excluding the change in accrued interest, that provided $87 million more cash during 2012 driven by collection of receivables and an increase in accounts payable and accrued liabilities.


46



  
Long-Term Debt

As of December 31, 2013, the accreted value of our total debt was approximately $14.2 billion, as summarized below (dollars in millions):
 
 
December 31, 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
Principal Amount
 
Accreted Value (a)
 
Semi-Annual Interest Payment Dates
 
Maturity Date (b)
CCO Holdings, LLC:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7.250% senior notes due 2017
 
$
1,000

 
$
1,000

 
4/30 & 10/30
 
10/30/2017
7.000% senior notes due 2019
 
1,400

 
1,393

 
1/15 & 7/15
 
1/15/2019
8.125% senior notes due 2020
 
700

 
700

 
4/30 & 10/30
 
4/30/2020
7.375% senior notes due 2020
 
750

 
750

 
6/1 & 12/1
 
6/1/2020
5.250% senior notes due 2021
 
500

 
500

 
3/15 & 9/15
 
3/15/2021
6.500% senior notes due 2021
 
1,500

 
1,500

 
4/30 & 10/30
 
4/30/2021
6.625% senior notes due 2022
 
750

 
747

 
1/31 & 7/31
 
1/31/2022
5.250% senior notes due 2022
 
1,250

 
1,239

 
3/30 & 9/30
 
9/30/2022
5.125% senior notes due 2023
 
1,000

 
1,000

 
2/15 & 8/15
 
2/15/2023
5.750% senior notes due 2023
 
500

 
500

 
3/1 & 9/1
 
9/1/2023
5.750% senior notes due 2024
 
1,000

 
1,000

 
1/15 & 7/15
 
1/15/2024
Credit facility due 2014
 
350

 
342

 
 
 
9/6/2014
Charter Communications Operating, LLC:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Credit facilities
 
3,548

 
3,510

 
 
 
Varies
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
14,248

 
$
14,181

 
 
 
 

(a)
The accreted values presented above represent the principal amount of the debt less the original issue discount at the time of sale, plus the accretion to the balance sheet date. However, the amount that is currently payable if the debt becomes immediately due is equal to the principal amount of the debt. We have availability under our credit facilities of approximately $1.1 billion as of December 31, 2013.
(b)
In general, the obligors have the right to redeem all of the notes set forth in the above table in whole or in part at their option, beginning at various times prior to their stated maturity dates, subject to certain conditions, upon the payment of the outstanding principal amount (plus a specified redemption premium) and all accrued and unpaid interest. For additional information see Note 8 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
 


47



Contractual Obligations