10-K 1 chtr123116-10k.htm 10-K Document


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, 2016
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
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Charter Communications, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
84-1496755
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
 
 
 
400 Atlantic Street
Stamford, Connecticut 06901
 
(203) 905-7800
(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 “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.:

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, 2016 was approximately $49.1 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.

There were 268,897,792 shares of Class A common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2016. There was 1 share 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, 2017.








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CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
FORM 10-K — FOR THE YEAR ENDED
DECEMBER 31, 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 
 
 
 
Page No.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This annual report on Form 10-K is for the year ended December 31, 2016. The United States 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, “Charter,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Charter Communications, Inc. and its subsidiaries.



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Explanatory Note
On May 18, 2016, Charter Communications, Inc. (formerly known as CCH I, LLC, the “Company” or “Charter”) completed its previously reported merger transactions among Charter, Time Warner Cable Inc. (“Legacy TWC”), Charter Communications, Inc. (“Legacy Charter”), and certain other subsidiaries of Charter (the “TWC Transaction”). Also on May 18, 2016, Charter completed its previously reported acquisition of Bright House Networks, LLC (“Legacy Bright House”) from Advance/Newhouse Partnership (the “Bright House Transaction,” and, together with the TWC Transaction, the “Transactions”). As a result of the Transactions, Charter became the new public parent company that holds the combined operations of Legacy Charter, Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House and was renamed Charter Communications, Inc. The financial statements presented in this annual report reflect the operations of Legacy Charter through May 17, 2016 and the Company on and after May 18, 2016. See Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, Note 2, “Mergers and Acquisitions - Selected Pro Forma Financial Information” for certain financial information presented as if the Transactions had closed on January 1, 2015. Also see Exhibit 99.1 in Charter’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016 filed with the SEC on November 3, 2016 for pro forma financial information for each quarter of 2015 and the first and second quarter of 2016. Throughout this report references to the “Company” or to “Charter” refer to the combined company following the completion of the Transactions.

As a result of the Transactions and by operation of Rule 12g-3(c) promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), Charter is the successor issuer to Legacy Charter and succeeds to the attributes of Legacy Charter as the registrant. Charter’s Class A common stock is deemed to be registered under Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act, and Charter is subject to the Exchange Act to the same extent as Legacy Charter.



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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. under the heading “Business” 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,” “predict,” “project,” “initiatives,” “seek,” “would,” “could,” “continue,” “ongoing,” “upside,” “increases” 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:

Risks Related to the Recently Completed Transactions:

our ability to promptly, efficiently and effectively integrate acquired operations;
managing a significantly larger company than before the completion of the Transactions;
our ability to achieve the synergies and value creation contemplated by the Transactions;
changes in Legacy Charter, Legacy TWC or Legacy Bright House operations’ businesses, future cash requirements, capital requirements, results of operations, revenues, financial condition and/or cash flows;
disruption in our business relationships as a result of the Transactions;
the increase in indebtedness as a result of the Transactions, which will increase interest expense and may decrease our operating flexibility;
operating costs and business disruption that may be greater than expected;
the ability to retain and hire key personnel; and
costs, disruptions and possible limitations on operating flexibility related to, and our ability to comply with, regulatory conditions applicable to us as a result of the Transactions.
 
Risks Related to Our Business

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;
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, fiber to the home providers, video provided over the Internet by (i) market participants that have not historically competed in the multichannel video business, (ii) traditional multichannel video distributors, and (iii) content providers that have historically licensed cable networks to multichannel video distributors, and providers of advertising over the Internet;
general business conditions, economic uncertainty or downturn, 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);
our ability to develop and deploy new products and technologies including our cloud-based user interface, Spectrum Guide®, and downloadable security for set-top boxes, and any other cloud-based consumer services and service platforms;
the effects of governmental regulation on our business or potential business combination transactions;
any events that disrupt our networks, information systems or properties and impair our operating activities or our reputation;
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; and


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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.

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.


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PART I

Item 1. Business.

Introduction

We are the second largest cable operator in the United States and a leading broadband communications services company providing video, Internet and voice services to approximately 26.2 million residential and business customers at December 31, 2016. In addition, we sell video and online advertising inventory to local, regional and national advertising customers and fiber-delivered communications and managed information technology (“IT”) solutions to larger enterprise customers. We also own and operate regional sports networks and local sports, news and lifestyle channels and sell security and home management services to the residential marketplace.

Our core strategy is to deliver high quality products at competitive prices, combined with outstanding service. This strategy, combined with simple, easy to understand pricing and packaging, is central to our goal of growing our customer base while also selling more individual services to each customer.  We expect to execute this strategy by managing our operations in a consumer-friendly, efficient and cost effective manner. Our operating strategy includes insourcing much of our customer care and field operations workforce which results in higher quality service transactions. While an insourced operating model can increase field operations and customer care costs associated with each service transaction, the higher quality nature of each service transaction significantly reduces the volume of service transactions per customer, more than offsetting the higher investment made in each service transaction. As we reduce the number of service transactions and recurring costs per customer relationship, we effectively pass those savings on to customers in the form of products and prices, that we believe are more cost effective than what our competitors offer. The combination of offering competitively priced products and high quality service, allows us to increase the number of customer relationships over a fixed network and products sold per relationship, while at the same time reducing the number of service transactions per relationship, improving customer satisfaction and reducing churn, which results in lower costs to acquire and serve customers.  Ultimately, this operating strategy enables us to offer high quality, competitively priced services profitably, while continuing to invest in new products and services.

Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Atlantic Street, Stamford, Connecticut 06901. Our telephone number is (203) 905-7800, and we have a website accessible at www.charter.com. Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q 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.

TWC Transaction

On May 18, 2016, the transactions contemplated by the Agreement and Plan of Mergers dated as of May 23, 2015 (the “Merger Agreement”), by and among Legacy TWC, Legacy Charter, CCH I, LLC, previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Legacy Charter (“New Charter”) and certain other subsidiaries of New Charter were completed. As a result of the TWC Transaction, New Charter became the new public parent company that holds the operations of the combined companies and was renamed Charter Communications, Inc.

Pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement, upon consummation of the TWC Transaction, 285 million outstanding shares of Legacy TWC common stock were converted into 143 million shares of Charter Class A common stock valued at approximately $32 billion as of the date of acquisition. In addition, Legacy TWC shareholders (excluding Liberty Broadband Corporation (“Liberty Broadband”) and Liberty Interactive Corporation (“Liberty Interactive”)) received approximately $28 billion in cash.

As of the date of completion of the Transactions, the total value of the TWC Transaction was approximately $85 billion, including cash, equity and Legacy TWC assumed debt. The purchase price also includes an estimated pre-combination vesting period fair value of $514 million for Legacy TWC equity awards converted into Charter awards upon closing of the TWC Transaction (“Converted TWC Awards”) and $69 million of cash paid to former Legacy TWC employees and non-employee directors who held equity awards, whether vested or not vested.

Bright House Transaction

Also, on May 18, 2016, Legacy Charter and Advance/Newhouse Partnership (“A/N”), the former parent of Legacy Bright House, completed their previously announced transaction, pursuant to a definitive Contribution Agreement (the “Contribution Agreement”), under which Charter acquired Bright House. Pursuant to the Bright House Transaction, Charter became the owner


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of the membership interests in Bright House and the other assets primarily related to Bright House (other than certain excluded assets and liabilities and non-operating cash). As of the date of acquisition, the purchase price totaled approximately $12.2 billion consisting of (a) $2 billion in cash, (b) 25 million convertible preferred units of Charter Communications Holdings, LLC ("Charter Holdings") with a face amount of $2.5 billion that pay a 6% annual preferential dividend, (c) approximately 31.0 million common units of Charter Holdings that are exchangeable into Charter Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis and (d) one share of Charter Class B common stock.

Liberty Transaction

In connection with the TWC Transaction, Legacy Charter and Liberty Broadband completed their previously announced transactions pursuant to their investment agreement, in which Liberty Broadband purchased for cash approximately 22.0 million shares of Charter Class A common stock valued at $4.3 billion at the closing of the TWC Transaction to partially finance the cash portion of the TWC Transaction consideration. In connection with the Bright House Transaction, Liberty Broadband purchased approximately 3.7 million shares of Charter Class A common stock valued at $700 million at the closing of the Bright House Transaction. See Note 2 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” for more information on the Transactions.



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Corporate Entity Structure

The chart below sets forth our entity structure and that of our direct and indirect subsidiaries. The 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. Indebtedness amounts shown below are principal amounts as of December 31, 2016. See Note 9 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.
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(1)
In connection with the Transactions, Legacy TWC transferred substantially all of its assets to TWC, LLC and merged with and into Spectrum Management Holding Company, LLC (formerly named Nina Company II, LLC) (“Spectrum Management”) with Spectrum Management as the surviving entity. Spectrum Management was the successor to the SEC reporting obligations of Legacy TWC (which have since been terminated).

(2)
In connection with the Transactions, on May 18, 2016, the proceeds of $2.5 billion principal amount of senior notes previously issued by CCOH Safari, LLC (“CCOH Safari”) and held in escrow were released from escrow, and CCOH Safari merged with and into CCO Holdings, LLC (“CCO Holdings”), which, among other things, assumed the obligations under these debt securities and agreed to guarantee, along with Time Warner Cable, LLC (“TWC, LLC”), Time Warner Cable Enterprises LLC (“TWCE”) and substantially all of the operating subsidiaries of Charter Communications Operating, LLC (“Charter Operating”) (collectively, the “Subsidiary Guarantors”), the Charter Operating notes, the TWC, LLC and TWCE debt securities and the Charter Operating credit facilities.

(3)
In connection with the Transactions, on May 18, 2016, (a) the proceeds of $15.5 billion principal amount of senior notes previously issued by CCO Safari II, LLC (“CCO Safari”) and held in escrow were released from escrow, and CCO Safari II merged with and into Charter Operating, which, among other things, assumed these debt obligations, (b) the $3.8 billion credit facility of CCO Safari III, LLC (“CCO Safari III”) was issued, and CCO Safari III merged with and into Charter Operating, which, among other things, assumed the obligations under this credit facility and (c) Charter Operating agreed to guarantee, along with the Subsidiary Guarantors, the TWC, LLC senior notes and debentures and the TWCE senior debentures. As of December 31, 2016, the Charter Operating credit facilities were comprised of $2.5 billion aggregate principal amount term loan A facility, $1.4 billion aggregate principal amount term loan E facility, $1.2 billion aggregate principal amount term loan F facility, $993 million aggregate principal amount term loan H facility and $2.8 billion aggregate principal amount term loan I facility. Charter Operating also has availability under its revolving credit facility of approximately $2.8 billion as of December 31, 2016.

(4)
In connection with the Transactions, Legacy TWC transferred substantially all of its assets to TWC, LLC (f/k/a TWC NewCo LLC), and, among other things, TWC, LLC assumed all the obligations under $20.2 billion principal amount of notes and debentures previously issued by Legacy TWC, and agreed to guarantee the Charter Operating and TWCE notes and debentures and the Charter Operating credit facilities.

(5)
In connection with the Transactions, TWCE assumed all the obligations under $2.0 billion principal amount of debentures previously issued by Legacy TWC, and agreed to guarantee the Charter Operating and TWC, LLC notes and debentures and the Charter Operating credit facilities.

Products and Services

We offer our customers subscription-based video services, including video on demand (“VOD”), high definition (“HD”) television, and digital video recorder (“DVR”) service), Internet services and voice services. As of December 31, 2016, 70% of our footprint was all-digital enabling us to offer more HD channels, faster Internet speeds and better video picture quality and we intend to transition the remaining portions of our Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House footprints. 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 our services. Bundled services are available to approximately 99% of our passings, and approximately 61% of our customers subscribe to a bundle of services.



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All customer statistics as of December 31, 2016 include the operations of Legacy TWC, Legacy Bright House and Legacy Charter, each of which is based on individual legacy company reporting methodology. These methodologies differ and their differences may be material and statistical reporting will be conformed over time to a single reporting methodology. The following table summarizes our customer statistics for video, Internet and voice as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 (in thousands except per customer data and footnotes).

 
Approximate as of
 
December 31,
 
2016 (a)
 
2015 (a)
Customer Relationships (b)
 
 
 
Residential
24,801

 
6,284

Small and Medium Business
1,404

 
390

Total Customer Relationships
26,205

 
6,674

 
 
 
 
Residential Primary Service Units ("PSUs")
 
 
 
Video
16,836

 
4,322

Internet
21,374

 
5,227

Voice
10,327

 
2,598

 
48,537

 
12,147

 
 
 
 
Monthly Residential Revenue per Residential Customer (c)
$
109.77

 
$
111.19

 
 
 
 
Small and Medium Business PSUs
 
 
 
Video
400

 
108

Internet
1,219

 
345

Voice
778

 
218

 
2,397

 
671

 
 
 
 
Monthly Small and Medium Business Revenue per Customer (d)
$
214.25

 
$
172.88

 
 
 
 
Enterprise PSUs (e)
97

 
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After giving effect to the Transactions, December 31, 2015 residential and small and medium business customer relationships would have been 23,795,000 and 1,256,000, respectively, residential video, Internet and voice PSUs would have been 17,062,000, 19,911,000 and 9,959,000, respectively and small and medium business PSUs would have been 361,000, 1,078,000 and 667,000, respectively; Enterprise PSUs would have been 81,000.

(a)
We calculate the aging of customer accounts based on the monthly billing cycle for each account. On that basis, as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, customers include approximately 208,400 and 38,100 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 60 days past due, approximately 15,500 and 1,700 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 90 days past due, and approximately 8,000 and 900 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 120 days past due.
(b)
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. Customers who reside in residential multiple dwelling units (“MDUs”) and that are billed under bulk contracts are counted based on the number of billed units within each bulk MDU. Total customer relationships excludes enterprise customer relationships.
(c)
Monthly residential revenue per residential customer is calculated as total residential video, Internet and voice quarterly revenue divided by three divided by average residential customer relationships during the respective quarter.
(d)
Monthly small and medium business revenue per customer is calculated as total small and medium business quarterly revenue divided by three divided by average small and medium business customer relationships during the respective quarter.
(e)
Enterprise PSUs represent the aggregate number of fiber service offerings counting each separate service offering as an individual PSU.



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Residential Services

Video Services

Our video customers receive a package of basic programming which, in our all-digital markets, includes a digital set-top box that provides an interactive electronic programming guide with parental controls, access to pay-per-view services, including VOD (available to nearly all of our passings), digital music channels and the option to view certain video services on third party devices. Customers have the option to purchase additional tiers of services including premium channels which provide original programming, commercial-free movies, sports, and other special event entertainment programming. Substantially all of our video programming is available in HD.

In most areas, we offer VOD service which allows customers to select from approximately 30,000 titles at any time. VOD includes standard definition, HD and three dimensional (“3D”) content. VOD programming options may be accessed for free if the content is associated with a customer’s linear subscription, or for a fee on a transactional basis. VOD services are also 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 one-time special sporting event, music concert, or similar event on a commercial-free basis.

Our goal is to provide our video customers with the programming they want, when they want it, on any device. DVR service enables customers to digitally record programming and to pause and rewind live programming.  Customers can also use the Charter TV applications available on portable devices, streaming devices and on our websites to watch up to 300 channels of cable TV, view VOD programming, remotely control digital set-top boxes while in the home and to program DVRs remotely. We intend to consolidate the various legacy entity TV applications into a single Spectrum TV Application in 2017. Customers also have access to programmer authenticated applications and websites such as HBO Go®, Fox Now®, Discovery Go® and WatchESPN®.

In certain markets, we have launched Spectrum Guide®, a network or “cloud-based” user interface that runs on traditional set-top boxes, with a look and feel that is similar to that of the Spectrum TV App. Spectrum Guide® is designed to enable our customers to enjoy a state-of-the-art video experience on set-top boxes, regardless of the age of the set-top box. The guide enables customers to find video content more easily across cable TV channels and VOD options. We plan to continue to deploy across our footprint and enhance this technology in 2017 and beyond.

Internet Services

Approximately 99% of our estimated passings are enabled for DOCSIS 3.0 wideband technology, allowing us to offer our residential customers multiple tiers of Internet services with currently marketed download speeds of up to 300 megabits per second (“Mbps”).  In nearly every market where we have launched Spectrum pricing and packaging (“SPP”), our entry level Internet download speed offering is 60 or 100 Mbps which, among other things, allows several people within a single household to stream HD video content online while simultaneously using our Internet service for non-video purposes. As we roll out SPP in Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House markets, we will bring base speed offerings to a standard minimum of 60 or 100 Mbps at uniform pricing without any usage-based pricing data caps, modem fees or early termination fees. Finally, we offer a security suite with our Internet services which, upon installation by customers, provides protection against computer viruses and spyware and includes parental control features.

We offer an in-home WiFi product that permits customers to lease high performance wireless routers to maximize their in-home wireless Internet experience. Additionally, we offer an out-of-home WiFi service (“Spectrum WiFi”) in most of our footprint to our Internet customers at designated “hot spots.” In 2017, we expect to expand WiFi accessibility to our customers both inside and outside of their legacy entity footprints.

Voice Services

We provide voice communications services using VoIP technology to transmit digital voice signals over our network. Our voice services include unlimited local and long distance calling to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding and other features and offers international calling either by the minute, or through packages of minutes per month. For customers that subscribe to both our voice and video offerings, caller ID on TV is also available in most areas.



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Other Residential Services

We are continually engaging in product research and development and other opportunities to expand our services including the activation of our Mobile Virtual Network Operator (“MVNO”) agreement with Verizon which would enable us to offer mobile services. The activation of the MVNO with Verizon does not, however, represent an obligation for us to offer mobile services.

Commercial Services

We offer scalable broadband communications solutions for businesses and carrier organizations of all sizes, selling Internet access, data networking, fiber connectivity to cellular towers and office buildings, video entertainment services and business telephone services.
 
Small and Medium Business

As Spectrum Business, we offer video, Internet and voice services to small and medium businesses over our coaxial network that are similar to those that we provide to our residential customers. Spectrum Business includes a full range of video programming and music services and Internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps downstream, 300 Mbps in certain markets, and up to 20 Mbps upstream in its DOCSIS 3.0 markets. Spectrum Business also includes a set of business services including web hosting, e-mail and security, and multi-line telephone services with more than 30 business features including web-based service management.
 
Enterprise Solutions

As Spectrum Enterprise, we offer fiber-delivered communications and managed IT solutions to larger businesses, as well as high-capacity last-mile data connectivity services to wireless and wireline carriers, Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) and other competitive carriers on a wholesale basis.  More specifically, Spectrum Enterprise's portfolio includes fiber Internet access with symmetrical speeds up to 10 gigabits per second (“Gbps”), voice trunking services such as Primary Rate Interface (“PRI”) and Session Initiation Protocol (“SIP”) Trunks, Ethernet services that privately and securely connect geographically dispersed client locations with speeds up to 10 Gbps, and video solutions designed to meet the needs of the hospitality, education, and health care clients.  Our managed IT portfolio includes Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (“IaaS”) and Cloud Desktop as a Service (“DaaS”), and managed hosting, application, and messaging solutions, along with other related IT and professional services. The Transactions have provided us with a larger footprint which allows us to more effectively serve business customers with multiple sites across given geographic regions. These customers can benefit from obtaining these advanced services from a single provider simplifying procurement and potentially reducing their costs.

Advertising Services

Our advertising sales division, Spectrum Reach®, offers local, regional and national businesses with the opportunity to advertise in individual and multiple markets on cable television networks. We receive revenues from the sale of local advertising on digital advertising networks and satellite-delivered networks such as MTV®, CNN® and ESPN®. In any particular market, we typically insert local advertising on over 50 channels. Since completion of the Transactions, our larger footprint has increased opportunities for advertising customers to address broader regional audiences from a single provider and thus reach more customers with a single transaction. Our increased size provides scale to invest in new technology to create more targeted and interactive advertising capabilities.

Available advertising time is generally sold by our advertising sales force. In some markets, we have formed advertising interconnects or entered into representation agreements with other video distributors, including, among others, Verizon Communications Inc.’s (“Verizon”) fiber optic service (“FiOS”) and AT&T Inc.’s (“AT&T”) U-verse, under which we sell advertising on behalf of those operators. In some markets, we enter into representation agreements under which another operator in the area will sell advertising on our behalf. These arrangements enable us and our partners to deliver linear commercials across wider geographic areas, replicating the reach of local broadcast television stations to the extent possible. In addition, we, together with Comcast Corporation (“Comcast”) and Cox Communications, Inc., own National Cable Communications LLC, which, on behalf of a number of video operators, sells advertising time to national and regional advertisers.

We also sell the advertising inventory of our owned and operated local sports, news and lifestyle channels, and advertising inventory on our regional sports networks that carry Los Angeles Lakers’ basketball games and other sports programming and on SportsNet LA, a regional sports network that carries Los Angeles Dodgers’ baseball games and other sports programing.



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We have deployed advanced advertising products such as interactivity, household addressability, dynamic ad insertion into VOD and data infused advertising campaigns within various parts of our footprint. These new products will be distributed across more of our footprint in 2017.

Other Services

Regional Sports and News Networks

We have an agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers for rights to distribute all locally available pre-season, regular season and post-season Los Angeles Lakers’ games through 2033. We broadcast those games on our regional sports network, Spectrum SportsNet. As of December 31, 2016, Spectrum SportsNet was distributed to approximately 4.7 million multichannel video customers via the majority of major multichannel video distributors in our Southern California, Las Vegas, NV and Hawaii regions. We also manage 36 local news channels, including Spectrum News NY1, a 24-hour news channel focused on New York City, 20 local sports channels and three local lifestyle community channels, and we own 26.8% of Sterling Entertainment Enterprises, LLC (doing business as SportsNet New York), a New York City-based regional sports network that carries New York Mets’ baseball games as well as other regional sports programming.

American Media Productions, LLC ("American Media Productions"), an unaffiliated third party, owns SportsNet LA, a regional sports network carrying the Los Angeles Dodgers’ baseball games and other sports programming. In accordance with agreements with American Media Productions, we act as the network’s exclusive affiliate and advertising sales representative and have certain branding and programming rights with respect to the network. In addition, we provide certain production and technical services to American Media Productions. The affiliate, advertising, production and programming agreements continue through 2038. We continue to seek distribution agreements for the carriage of SportsNet LA by other major distributors.

Security and Home Management

We also provide security and home management services to our residential customers in certain markets. Our broadband cable system connects the customer’s in-home system to our emergency response center. In addition to providing traditional security, fire and medical emergency monitoring and dispatch, the service allows customers to remotely arm or disarm their security system, monitor their home via indoor and outdoor cameras, and remotely operate key home functions, including setting and controlling lights, thermostats and door locks.

Pricing of Our Products and Services

Our revenues are principally derived 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 in certain sales channels during certain promotional periods.

Our SPP offers a standardized price for each tier of service, bundle of services, and add-on service, regardless of market and emphasizes triple play bundles of video, Internet and voice services. Our most popular and competitive services are combined in core packages at what we believe are attractive prices. We began launching SPP in the Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House footprints in the third quarter of 2016, and we expect to offer SPP in all markets by the middle of 2017. We believe our approach:

offers simplicity for customers to understand our offers, and for our employees in service delivery;
offers the ability to package more services at the time of sale, thus increasing revenue per customer;
offers a higher quality and more value-based set of services, including faster Internet speeds, more HD channels, lower equipment fees and a more transparent pricing structure;
drives higher customer satisfaction, lower service calls and churn; and
allows for gradual price increases at the end of promotional periods.

Our Network Technology and Customer Premise Equipment

Our network includes three key components: a national backbone, regional/metro networks and the “last-mile” network.  Both our national backbone and regional/metro network components utilize a redundant Internet Protocol ("IP") ring/mesh architecture.  The national backbone component 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 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


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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 Spectrum Enterprise customers, fiber optic cable is extended from the individual nodes to the customer’s site.  For certain new build and MDU sites, we increasingly bring fiber to the customer site. Our design standard is six strands of fiber to each node, with two strands activated and four strands reserved for spares and future services.  This design standard allows these strands to be utilized for additional residential traffic capacity, and enterprise customer needs as they arise. We believe that this hybrid network design provides high capacity and signal quality.  The design also provides two-way signal capabilities for the support of interactive services.
 
HFC architecture benefits include:

bandwidth capacity to enable traditional and two-way video and broadband services;
dedicated bandwidth for two-way services; and
signal quality and high service reliability.

Approximately 98% of our estimated passings are served by systems that have bandwidth of 750 megahertz or greater as of December 31, 2016. This bandwidth capacity enables us to offer HD television, DOCSIS-based Internet services and voice services.

An 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 enabling lower installation and disconnect service truck rolls. We are currently all-digital in 70% of our footprint and intend to transition the remaining portions of our Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House footprints.

We have been introducing our new set-top box, WorldBox, to consumers in certain markets. The WorldBox design has opened the set-top box market to new vendors and reduced our set-top box costs. The WorldBox also includes more advanced features and functionality than older set-top boxes, including faster processing times, IP capabilities with increased speed, additional simultaneous recordings, increased DVR storage capacity, and a greater degree of flexibility for consumers to take Charter-provisioned set-top boxes with them, if and when, they move residences. We have also been introducing our new cloud-based user interface, Spectrum Guide®, to our video customers in certain markets. Spectrum Guide® improves video content search and discovery, and fully enables our on-demand offering. In addition, Spectrum Guide® can function on nearly all of Legacy Charter’s deployed set-tops, reducing costs and customer disruption to swap equipment for new functionality.

Management, Customer Care and Marketing

Our operations are centralized, with senior executives located at several key corporate offices, responsible for coordinating and overseeing operations including establishing company-wide strategies, policies and procedures. Sales and marketing, network operations, field operations, customer operations, 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 on-site service transactions with customers and maintaining and constructing that portion of our network which is located outdoors.  In 2017, our field operations group will focus on standardizing practices, processes, procedures and metrics, including those used to assure the quality of work performed when servicing customers.

We continue to focus on improving the customer experience through enhanced product offerings, reliability of services, and delivery of quality customer service.  As part of our operating strategy, we are committed to investments and hiring plans that will insource most of our customer service workload over the next few years. We intend to bring the Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House customer operations workload, much of which is outsourced offshore, back to the United States. Most of these repatriated jobs will be fully insourced and will increase our full time labor force. We are currently constructing a new call center in McAllen, TX which will solely serve customers who prefer to engage with us in Spanish, resulting in the creation of new jobs. This new facility will be operational and taking calls in 2017.

Legacy Charter’s in-house domestic call centers currently handle approximately 90% of calls, managed centrally to ensure a consistent, high quality customer experience.  On a consolidated basis, in-house domestic call centers handle just over 60% of customer service calls. Over a multi-year period, however, we plan to migrate Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House customer service centers to Legacy Charter’s model of using segmented, virtualized, U.S.-based in-house call centers. Segmented, virtualized call centers allow calls to be routed to agents across our footprint based on call type, enabling agents to be experts in addressing specific customer needs, thus creating a better customer experience. Legacy Charter’s inbound sales, billing, service and retention call centers are also virtualized and segmented by call-type. A new call center agent desktop interface tool, already used at Legacy Charter, is being developed for the acquired systems. This new desktop interface tool will enable virtualization of all call centers, regardless of the legacy billing platform, to better serve our customers.



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We also provide customers with the opportunity to interact with us through a variety of forums in addition to telephonic communications, including through our customer website, mobile device applications, online chat, and via social media. Our customer websites and mobile applications enable customers to pay their bills, manage their accounts, order new services and utilize self-service help and support.

We sell our residential and commercial services using a national brand platform known as Spectrum®, Spectrum Business® and Spectrum Enterprise®. These brands reflect our comprehensive approach to industry-leading products, driven by speed, performance and innovation. Our marketing strategy emphasizes the sale of our bundled services through targeted direct response marketing programs to existing and potential customers and increases awareness and the value of the Spectrum brand. Our marketing organization creates and executes marketing programs intended to grow customer relationships, increase services per relationship, 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, in order to increase our responsiveness to our customers and to improve our sales and customer retention. Our marketing organization also manages and directs several sales channels including direct sales, on-line, outbound telemarketing and stores.

Programming

We believe that offering a wide variety of video programming choices influences a customer’s decision to subscribe and retain our cable video services. We obtain basic and premium programming, usually pursuant to written contracts, from a number of suppliers although media consolidation has resulted in fewer suppliers and additional selling power on the part of programmer suppliers. Our programming contracts generally continue for a fixed period of time, usually for multiple years, and are subject to negotiated renewal.

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 that programming available. Programming license fees may include “volume” discounts and financial incentives to support the launch of a channel and/or ongoing marketing support, as well as discounts for channel placement or service penetration. For home shopping channels, we typically receive a percentage of the revenue attributable to our customers’ purchases. We also offer VOD and pay per view channels of movies and events that are subject to a revenue split with the content provider.

Our programming costs have increased in excess of customary inflationary and cost-of-living type increases.  We expect programming costs to continue to increase due to a variety of factors including, annual increases pursuant to our programming contracts, contract renewals with programmers and the carriage of incremental programming, including new services and VOD programming. Increases in the cost of sports programming and the amounts paid for broadcast station retransmission consent have been the largest contributors to the growth in our programming costs over the last few years. Additionally, the demands of large media companies who link carriage of their most popular networks to carriage and cost increases of their less popular networks, has limited our flexibility in creating more tailored and cost-sensitive programming packages for consumers.  Finally, programmers have experienced declines in demand for advertising as advertisers shift more of their marketing spend online.  We believe that this is resulting in programmers demanding higher programming fees from us, as they seek to recover revenue they are losing to online advertising.

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 that 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 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 our 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.

We have programming contracts that have expired and others that will expire at or before the end of 2017. 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 agreements 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.



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Regions

We operate in geographically diverse areas which are organized in regional clusters. These regions are managed centrally on a consolidated level. Our eleven regions and the customer relationships within each region as of December 31, 2016 are as follows (in thousands):

Regions
 
Total Customer Relationships
Carolinas
 
2,609
Central
 
2,800
Florida
 
2,251
Great Lakes
 
2,143
Northeast
 
2,909
Northwest
 
1,410
NYC
 
1,317
South
 
2,030
Southern Ohio
 
2,039
Texas
 
2,561
West
 
4,136

Competition

Residential Services

We face intense competition for residential customers, both from existing competitors and, as a result of the rapid development of new technologies, services and products, from new entrants.

Video competition

Our residential video service faces competition from direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”) services, which have a national footprint and compete in all of our operating areas. DBS providers offer satellite-delivered pre-packaged programming services that can be received by relatively small and inexpensive receiving dishes. They offer aggressive promotional pricing, exclusive programming (e.g., NFL Sunday Ticket) and video services that are comparable in many respects to our residential video service. Our residential video service also faces competition from phone companies with fiber-based networks, primarily AT&T U-verse, Frontier Communications Corporation (“Frontier”) FiOs and Verizon FiOs, which offer wireline video services in approximately 23%, 8% and 4%, respectively, of our operating areas. In July 2015, AT&T acquired DIRECTV Group Inc. (“DIRECTV”), the nation’s largest DBS provider, with the combined company able to offer bundles of video, Internet, wireline phone service and wireless service. As a condition to the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") approval of the transaction, AT&T is required to deploy fiber to the home (“FTTH”) to 12.5 million locations within four years from the close of its transaction. AT&T also announced the acquisition of Time Warner Inc. in October 2016 which is subject to regulatory approval. If approved, it is not yet clear how AT&T will use the various programming and studio assets to benefit its own video on its various platforms or potential program access conditions as part of such regulatory approval.

Our residential video service also faces growing competition from a number of other sources, including companies that deliver linear network programming, movies and television shows on demand and other video content over broadband Internet connections to televisions, computers, tablets and mobile devices. These newer categories of competitors include virtual multichannel video programming distributors (“V-MVPD”) such as AT&T’s “DirecTV NOW,” DISH Network Corporation’s “Sling TV,” and Sony Corporation’s “Playstation Vue,” and direct to consumer products offered by programmers that have not traditionally sold programming directly to consumers, such as HBO’s “HBO Now,” CBS’ “CBS All Access” and Showtime’s “Showtime Anytime.” Other online video business models have also developed, including, (i) subscription video on demand (“SVOD”) services such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc.’s (“Amazon”) “Prime,” and “Hulu Plus,” (ii) ad-supported free online video products, including Google Inc.’s (“Google”), “YouTube” and “Hulu,” some of which offer programming for free to consumers that we currently purchase for a fee, (iii) pay-per-view products, such as Apple’s “ITunes” and Amazon’s, “Amazon Instant,” and (iv) additional ad-supported free offerings from wireless providers such as Verizon’s “go90” and T-Mobile’s “Binge On” that exempt certain video content traffic from counting towards monthly data caps. We have viewed online video services as complementary to our


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own video offering, and we have developed a cloud-based guide that is capable of incorporating video from many on-line video services currently offered in the marketplace. As the proliferation of online video services grows, however, services such as DirecTV Now and potential forthcoming services such as Hulu Live, and new direct to consumer offerings, could negatively impact the growth of our video business.

Internet competition

Our residential Internet service faces competition from the phone companies’ DSL, FTTH and wireless broadband offerings as well as from a variety of companies that offer other forms of online services, including wireless and satellite-based broadband services. Verizon’s FiOs and Frontier in certain markets acquired from Verizon, are our primary fiber-to-the-home competitor, although AT&T has also begun fiber-to-the home builds as well, including the required buildout per the FCC condition as a result of AT&T’s acquisition of DIRECTV noted above. Given the FTTH deployments of our competitors, launches of broadband services offering 1 Gbps speed are becoming more common. Several competitors, including AT&T and Google, deliver 1 Gbps broadband speed in at least a portion of their footprints which overlap our footprint. DSL service is often offered at prices lower than our Internet services, although typically at speeds lower than the speeds we offer. Various wireless phone companies are now offering third and fourth generation (3G and 4G) wireless Internet services with fifth generation (5G) and faster services on the horizon, some of which offer unlimited data packages to customers. In addition, a growing number of commercial areas, such as retail malls, restaurants and airports, offer WiFi Internet service. Numerous local governments are also considering or actively pursuing publicly subsidized WiFi Internet access networks. These options offer alternatives to cable-based Internet access.

Voice competition

Our residential voice service competes with wireless and wireline phone providers, as well as other forms of communication, such as text messaging on cellular phones, instant messaging, social networking services, video conferencing and email. We also compete with “over-the-top” phone providers, such as Vonage, Skype, magicJack, Google Voice and Ooma, Inc., as well as companies that sell phone cards at a cost per minute for both national and international service. The increase in the number of different technologies capable of carrying voice services and the number of alternative communication options available to customers as well as the replacement of wireline services by wireless have intensified the competitive environment in which we operate our residential voice service.

Regional Competitors

In some of our operating areas, other competitors have built networks that offer video, Internet and voice services that compete with our services. For example, in Kansas City and Austin, Texas, our residential video, Internet and voice services compete with Google Fiber services. In addition to Google Fiber, Cincinnati Bell Inc., Hawaiian Telcom, RCN Telecom Services, LLC and WideOpenWest Finance, LLC (“WOW”), each compete with us in parts of our operating area.

Additional competition

In addition to multi-channel video providers, cable systems compete with other sources of news, information and entertainment, including over-the-air television broadcast reception, live events, movie theaters and the Internet. Competition is also posed by satellite master antenna television systems, or SMATV systems, serving MDUs, such as condominiums, apartment complexes, and private residential communities.

Business Services

We face intense competition as to each of our business services offerings. Our small and medium business video, Internet, networking and voice services face competition from a variety of providers as described above. Our enterprise solutions also face competition from the competitors described above as well as other telecommunications carriers, such as metro and regional fiber-based carriers. We also compete with cloud, hosting and related service providers and application-service providers.
 
Advertising

We face intense competition for advertising revenue across many different platforms and from a wide range of local and national competitors. Advertising competition has increased and will likely continue to increase as new formats seek to attract the same advertisers. We compete for advertising revenue against, among others, local broadcast stations, national cable and broadcast networks, radio stations, print media and online advertising companies and content providers.



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Security and Home Management

Our IntelligentHome service faces competition from traditional security companies, such as The ADT Corporation, service providers such as Verizon and AT&T, as well as new entrants, such as Vivint, Inc., Alarm.com, Inc. and NEST Labs, Inc. (which Google acquired in 2014).

Seasonality and Cyclicality 

Our business is subject to seasonal and cyclical variations. Our results are impacted by the seasonal nature of customers receiving our cable services in college and vacation markets. Our revenue is subject to cyclical advertising patterns and changes in viewership levels. Our advertising revenue is generally higher in the second and fourth calendar quarters of each year, due in part to increases in consumer advertising in the spring and in the period leading up to and including the holiday season. U.S. advertising revenue is also cyclical, benefiting in even-numbered years from advertising related to candidates running for political office and issue-oriented advertising. Our capital expenditures and trade working capital are also subject to significant seasonality based on the timing of subscriber growth, network programs, specific projects and construction.

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, Internet, and voice services. Cable system operations are extensively regulated by the federal government (primarily the FCC), certain state governments, and 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 or regulatory actions 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. In addition, we are already subject to Charter-specific conditions regarding certain business practices as a result of the FCC’s approval of the Transactions.

Video Service

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.

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 required cable operators to make a separate offering of security modules (i.e., a “CableCARD”) that can be used with retail navigation devices. 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 another of these rules was repealed by Congress in 2014, but the basic obligation to provide separable security for retail devices remains in place. In 2016, the FCC proposed to replace its CableCARD regime with burdensome new rules that would have required us to make disaggregated “information flows” available to set-top boxes and apps supplied by third parties. That proposal was not adopted, but various parties may continue to advocate alternative regulatory approaches to reduce consumer dependency on traditional operator provided set-top boxes.  It remains uncertain whether the FCC or Congress will change the legal requirements related to our set-top boxes and what the impact of any such changes might be.



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Privacy and Information Security Regulation

The Communications Act limits our ability to collect, use, 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, Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"), and many states regulate and restrict the marketing practices of communications service providers, including telemarketing and online marketing efforts. The FCC recently adopted privacy rules that contain new restrictions affecting the use of broadband and voice customer data, and various other federal agencies, including the FTC, continue to provide updated guidance on the use and protection of consumer data.

Our operations are also subject to federal and state laws governing information security, including new “reasonable” data security requirements set forth in the FCC’s recently adopted privacy rules, which will become effective on March 3, 2017. In the event of an information security breach, such rules may require consumer and government agency notification and may result in regulatory enforcement actions with the potential of monetary forfeitures. The FCC has recently used the existing authority under its privacy and security requirements for telecommunications services to bring enforcement actions against several companies for failing to protect customer data from unauthorized access by and disclosure to third parties, resulting in substantial monetary settlements. Similarly, the FTC and state attorneys general regularly bring enforcement actions against companies related to information security breaches and privacy violations. Several state legislatures are considering the adoption of new data security and cybersecurity legislation that could result in additional network and information security requirements for our business.

Various security standards provide guidance to telecommunications companies in order to help identify and mitigate cybersecurity risk. One such standard is the voluntary framework released by the National Institute for Standards and Technologies (“NIST”) in February 2014, in cooperation with other federal agencies and owners and operators of U.S. critical infrastructure.The NIST cybersecurity framework provides a prioritized and flexible model for organizations to identify and manage cyber risks inherent to their business. It was designed to supplement, not supersede, existing cybersecurity regulations and requirements. Several government agencies have encouraged compliance with the NIST cybersecurity framework, including the FCC, which is also considering expansion of its cybersecurity guidelines or the adoption of cybersecurity requirements. We cannot predict what proposals may be adopted or how new legislation and regulations, if any, would affect our business.

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.

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 and again in 2015, 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.  Additionally, the 2011 order reduces the federal rate formula previously applicable to “telecommunications” attachments to closely approximate the rate formula applicable to “cable” attachments. The 2015 order continues the reconciliation of rates, effectively closing the remaining “loophole” that potentially allowed for significantly higher rates for telecommunications than for “cable” attachments in certain scenarios. Utility pole owners have appealed the 2015 order. Neither the 2011 order nor the 2015 order directly affect the rate in states that self-regulate (rather than allow the FCC to regulate pole rates), but many of those states have substantially the same rate for cable and telecommunications attachments.

Although the 2011 and 2015 orders do not impact 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 could adversely impact our pole attachment rates in states or for periods of time in which the cable rate is or was lower than the telecommunications rate.  Additionally, although the FCC’s 2015 reclassification of broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service also set forth the FCC’s intention that pole rates not increase as result. That reclassification ruling could adversely impact our pole attachment rates in states or for periods of time in which the cable rate is or was lower than the telecommunications rate.



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Cable Rate Regulation

Federal law strictly limits the potential scope of cable rate regulation. Pursuant to federal law, all video offerings are universally exempt from rate regulation, except for a cable system’s minimum level of video programming service, referred to as “basic service,” and associated equipment. Rate regulation of basic service and associated equipment operates pursuant to a federal formula, with local governments, commonly referred to as local franchising authorities, primarily responsible for administering this regulation. The majority of our local franchising authorities have never certified to regulate basic service cable rates. In 2015, the FCC adopted an order (which is now under appeal) reversing its historic approach to rate regulation certifications and requiring a local franchise authority interested in regulating cable rates to first make an affirmative showing that there is no “effective competition” (as defined under federal law) in the community. Very few local franchise authorities have filed the necessary rate regulation certification, and the FCC’s 2015 order should make it more difficult for such entities to assert rate regulation in the future.

There have been 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.

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.

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 revised 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 revised 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.

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 and syndicated 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 and may impose additional costs on our operations.

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.

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.



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Franchise Matters

Our cable systems generally are operated pursuant to nonexclusive franchises, permits, and similar authorizations 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, supporting and carrying public access channels, 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.

Prior to the scheduled expiration of our franchises, we generally initiate renewal proceedings with the granting authorities. 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, however, many governmental authorities require the cable operator to make additional costly commitments. 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 fail 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. 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 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

FCC regulations subject broadband Internet access services to certain regulations intended to ensure that end users can send and receive lawful Internet content without discrimination by Internet service providers such as us. Under these rules, providers of broadband Internet access service are not permitted to block access to, or restrict data rates for downloading, lawful content or ban the attachment of non-harmful devices to our service except to the extent required by reasonable network management practices. Internet service providers are also not permitted to give special priority to the transmission of content from our affiliates or accept payment from third parties to give special priority their content. Furthermore, Internet service providers are subject to a general obligation not to take actions that unreasonably interfere with the ability of end users (such as our subscribers) and edge providers (such as web sites) to exchange data with each other. The FCC has also stated that it will investigate problems that may arise regarding interconnection of the networks of retail broadband Internet access providers with “upstream” providers of Internet connectivity. In addition, the FCC rules require that we meet certain “transparency” obligations, i.e., that we disclose material technical and other terms and conditions applicable to our Internet service. These FCC regulations were upheld by the D.C. Circuit in June 2016, but remain subject to additional appeals. We cannot predict how those ongoing appeals will be resolved. Moreover, it is possible that Congress or the FCC will modify or repeal the existing regulations.

We cannot predict how the FCC will enforce its regulations in particular cases or whether in the future the FCC may seek to expand the scope of its regulatory obligations on Internet access service providers. In addition to the regulatory obligations noted above, providers of broadband Internet access service are obliged by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) to configure their networks in a manner that facilitates the ability of law enforcement, with proper legal authorization, to obtain information about our customers, including the content of their Internet communications The FCC and Congress also are considering subjecting Internet access services to the Universal Service funding requirements. These funding requirements could impose significant new costs on our 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.” We have opposed such subsidies when directed to areas that we serve. Despite our efforts, future subsidies may be directed to areas served by us, which could


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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.

Aside from the FCC’s generally applicable regulations, we have made certain commitments to comply with the FCC’s order in connection with the FCC’s approval of the TWC Transaction and the Bright House Transaction (discussed above).

The FCC is considering whether online video distributors (“OVDs”) that offer programming to customers with a broadband Internet connection should be classified as multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”), and thereby subject to the program access protections available to MVPDs, as well as some of the regulatory requirements applicable to MVPDs. The outcome of this proceeding, which could impact how OVDs compete in the future with traditional cable service, cannot be determined at the current time.

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.

The FCC has collected extensive data from providers of point to point transport (“special access”) services, such as us, and the FCC may use that 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. The FCC also recently selected a new national local number portability administrator, and the change to that new administrator may adversely impact our ability to manage number porting and related tasks.

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 (the statute governing law enforcement access to and surveillance of communications), Universal Service Fund contributions, customer privacy and Customer Proprietary Network Information issues, number portability, network outage reporting, rural call completion, disability access, regulatory fees, and discontinuance of service. In November 2014, the FCC adopted an order imposing limited back-up power obligations on providers of facilities-based fixed, residential voice services that are not otherwise line-powered, including our VoIP services. This order became effective in February 2016 and requires us to disclose certain information to customers and to make back-up power available at the point of sale. 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, and at least one state has asserted jurisdiction over our VoIP services. We have filed a legal challenge to that state’s assertion of jurisdiction, which is now pending before a federal district court in Minnesota. 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.



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Transaction-Related Commitments

In connection with approval of the Transactions, federal and state regulators imposed a number of post-merger conditions on us including but not limited to the following.

FCC Conditions

Offer settlement-free Internet interconnection to any party that meets the requirements of our Interconnection Policy (available on Charter’s website) on terms generally consistent with the policy for seven years (with a possible reduction to five);
Deploy and offer high-speed broadband Internet access service to an additional two million locations over five years, at least one million of which must be in areas outside our footprint that face competition from another high-speed Internet provider;
Refrain from charging usage-based prices or imposing data caps on any fixed mass market broadband Internet access service plans for seven years (with a possible reduction to five);
Offer 30/4 Mbps discounted broadband where technically feasible to eligible customers throughout our service area for four years from the offer’s commencement; and
Continue to provide CableCARDs to any new or existing customer upon request for use in third-party retail devices for four years-and continue to support such CableCARDs for seven years (in each case, unless the FCC changes the relevant rules).

The FCC conditions also contain a number of compliance reporting requirements.

DOJ Conditions

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Order prohibits us from entering into or enforcing any agreement with a video programmer that forbids, limits or creates incentives to limit the video programmer’s provision of content to OVDs. We will not be able to avail ourself of other distributors’ most favored nation (“MFN”) provisions if they are inconsistent with this prohibition. The DOJ’s conditions are effective for seven years, although we may petition the DOJ to eliminate the conditions after five years.

State Conditions

Certain state regulators, including California, New York, Hawaii and New Jersey also imposed conditions in connection with the approval of the Transactions. These conditions include requirements related to:

Upgrading networks within the designated state, including upgrades to broadband speeds and conversion of all households served within California and New York to an all-digital platform;
Building out our network to households and business locations that are not currently served by cable within the designated states;
Offering LifeLine service discounts and low-income broadband to eligible households served within the applicable states;
Investing in service improvement programs and customer service enhancements and maintaining customer-facing jobs within the designated state;
Continuing to make legacy service offerings available, including allowing Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House customers to maintain their existing service offerings for a period of three years; and
Complying with reporting requirements.

Employees

As of December 31, 2016, we had approximately 91,500 active full-time equivalent employees. At December 31, 2016, approximately 2,500 of our employees were represented by collective bargaining agreements. We believe we have good relations with our employees including those represented by collective bargaining agreements.

Item 1A.     Risk Factors.

Risks Related to the Integration of the Transactions

If we are not able to successfully integrate our business with that of Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House within the anticipated time frame, or at all, the anticipated cost savings and other benefits of the Transactions may not be realized fully, or at all, or


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may take longer to realize than expected. In such circumstance, we may not perform as expected and the value of Charter's Class A common stock may be adversely affected.

Until the closing of the Transactions, Legacy Charter, Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House operated independently, and there can be no assurances that their businesses can be integrated successfully. We now have significantly more systems, assets, investments, businesses, customers and employees than each company did prior to the Transactions. It is possible that the integration process could result in the loss of key Charter employees, the loss of customers, the disruption of our ongoing businesses or in unexpected integration issues, higher than expected integration costs and an overall post-completion integration process that takes longer than originally anticipated. The process of integrating Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House with the Legacy Charter operations will require significant capital expenditures and the expansion of certain operations and operating and financial systems. Management will be required to devote a significant amount of time and attention to the integration process and there is a significant degree of difficulty and management involvement inherent in that process. These difficulties include:

integrating the companies’ operations and corporate functions;
integrating the companies’ technologies, networks and customer service platforms;
integrating and unifying the product offerings and services available to customers, including customer premise equipment and video user interfaces;
harmonizing the companies’ operating practices, employee development and compensation programs, internal controls and other policies, procedures and processes;
maintaining existing relationships and agreements with customers, providers, programmers and other vendors and avoiding delays in entering into new agreements with prospective customers, providers and vendors;
addressing possible differences in business backgrounds, corporate cultures and management philosophies;
consolidating the companies’ administrative and information technology infrastructure;
coordinating programming and marketing efforts;
coordinating geographically dispersed organizations;
integrating information, purchasing, provisioning, accounting, finance, sales, billing, payroll, reporting and regulatory compliance systems;
completing the conversion of analog systems to all-digital for the Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House systems; and
attracting and retaining the necessary personnel associated with the acquired assets.

Even if the new businesses are successfully integrated, it may not be possible to realize the benefits that are expected to result from the Transactions, or realize these benefits within the time frame that is expected. For example, the elimination of duplicative costs may not be possible or may take longer than anticipated, or the benefits from the Transactions may be offset by costs incurred or delays in integrating the businesses and increased operating costs. If the combined company fails to realize the anticipated benefits from the transactions, our liquidity, results of operations, financial condition and/or share price may be adversely affected. In addition, at times, the attention of certain members of our management and resources may be focused on the integration of the businesses and diverted from day-to-day business operations, which may disrupt the business of the combined company.

If the operating results of Legacy TWC and/or Legacy Bright House are less than our expectations, or an increase in the capital expenditures to upgrade and maintain those assets as well as to keep pace with technological developments are greater than expected, we may not achieve the expected level of financial results from the Transactions.

We will derive a portion of our continuing revenues and earnings per share from the operations of Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House. Therefore, any negative impact on these companies or the operating results derived from such companies could harm the combined company’s operating results.

Our business and the businesses of Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House are characterized by rapid technological change and the introduction of new products and services. We intend to make investments in the combined business and transition toward only using two-way all-digital set-top boxes. The increase in capital expenditures necessary for the transition toward two-way set-top boxes in the business may negatively impact the expected financial results from the Transactions. The combined company 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 its customers for products and services requiring new technology or bandwidth. Our inability to maintain, expand and upgrade our existing or combined businesses could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

The Transactions were accounted for as an acquisition in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. Under the acquisition method of accounting, the assets and liabilities of Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House have been recorded, as of the date of completion of the Transactions, at their respective fair values and added to our assets and liabilities.



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The excess of the purchase price over those fair values has been recorded as goodwill. To the extent the value of goodwill or intangibles becomes impaired, we may be required to incur material charges relating to such impairment. Such a potential impairment charge could have a material impact on our operating results.

As a result of the closing of the Transactions, our businesses are subject to the conditions set forth in the FCC Order and the DOJ Consent Decree and those imposed by state utility commissions and local franchise authorities, and there can be no assurance that these conditions will not have an adverse effect on our businesses and results of operations.

In connection with the Transactions, the FCC Order, the DOJ Consent Decree, and the approvals from state utility commissions and local franchise authorities incorporated numerous commitments and voluntary conditions made by the parties and imposed numerous conditions on our businesses relating to the operation of our business and other matters. Among other things, (i) we will not be permitted to charge usage-based prices or impose data caps and will be prohibited from charging interconnection fees for qualifying parties; (ii) we will be prohibited from entering into or enforcing any agreement with a programmer that forbids, limits or creates incentives to limit the programmer’s provision of content to OVD and cannot retaliate against programmers for licensing to OVDs; (iii) we will not be able to avail ourself of other distributors’ most favored nation (“MFN”) provisions if they are inconsistent with this prohibition; (iv) we must undertake a number of actions designed to promote diversity; (v) we must appoint an independent compliance monitor and comply with a broad array of reporting requirements; and (v) we must satisfy various other conditions relating to our Internet services, including building out an additional two million locations with access to a high-speed connection of at least 60 megabits per second with at least one million of those connections in competition with another high-speed broadband provider in the market served, and implementing a reduced price high-speed Internet program for low income families. These and other conditions and commitments relating to the Transactions are of varying duration, ranging from three to seven years. In light of the breadth and duration of the conditions and potential changes in market conditions during the time the conditions and commitments are in effect, there can be no assurance that our compliance, and ability to comply, with the conditions will not have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations.

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, 2016, our total principal amount of debt was approximately $60.0 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, in part because approximately 13% of our borrowings as of December 31, 2016 were, and may continue to be, subject to variable rates of interest;
expose us to increased interest expense to the extent we refinance existing 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, our business results are lower than expected, or credit rating agencies downgrade our debt limiting our access to investment grade markets, 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;


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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 our notes and the Charter Operating credit facilities 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;
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, video provided over the Internet and providers of advertising 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 our cloud-based user interface, Spectrum Guide®;
the effects of governmental regulation on our business or potential business combination transactions; and
any events that disrupt our networks, information systems or properties and impair our operating activities and negatively impact our reputation.

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 Charter or CCO Holdings, our other primary debt issuers other than TWC, LLC and TWCE, to service debt obligations is subject to its compliance with the terms of its credit facilities, and restrictions under applicable law. TWC, LLC’s and TWCE’s ability to make distributions to Charter, CCO Holdings or Charter Operating to service debt obligations is subject to restrictions under applicable law. See Note 9 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” 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;


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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.

We believe that our relevant subsidiaries currently have surplus and are not insolvent, however, these subsidiaries may become insolvent in the future. Our direct or indirect subsidiaries include the borrowers and guarantors under the Charter Operating credit facilities and notes, under the CCO Holdings notes and under the TWC, LLC and TWCE notes. As of December 31, 2016, our total principal amount of debt was approximately $60.0 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 Charter Operating’s credit facilities and notes and any other indebtedness of our subsidiaries whose interests are secured by substantially all of our operating assets, and all holders of other debt of Charter Operating, CCO Holdings, TWC, LLC and TWCE will have the right to be paid in full before us from any of our subsidiaries’ assets.

Some 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 the CCO Holdings’ notes, upon the occurrence of specified change of control events, the debt issuer is required to offer to repurchase all of its outstanding notes. 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 Charter Operating is limited in its ability to make distributions or other payments to any debt issuer 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, which would trigger a default under the indentures governing the CCO Holdings’ notes, the Charter Operating notes and the TWC, LLC and TWCE notes. Because such credit facilities and notes are obligations of Charter Operating and its subsidiaries, 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 their notes. 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 under such agreements.

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, operations and financial results.

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.

Our residential video service faces competition from a number of sources, including direct broadcast satellite services, as well as other companies that deliver movies, television shows and other video programming over broadband Internet connections to TVs, computers, tablets and mobile devices. Our residential Internet service faces competition from the phone companies’ DSL, FTTH and wireless broadband offerings as well as from a variety of companies that offer other forms of online services, including wireless and satellite-based broadband services. Our residential voice service competes with wireless and wireline phone providers, as well as other forms of communication, such as text messaging on cellular phones, instant messaging, social networking services, video conferencing and email. Competition from these companies, including intensive marketing efforts with aggressive pricing, exclusive programming and increased HD broadcasting may have an adverse impact on our ability to attract and retain customers.

Overbuilds could also 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.

Our services may not allow us to compete effectively. Competition may reduce our expected growth of future cash flows which may contribute to future impairments of our franchises and goodwill and our ability to meet cash flow requirements, including


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debt service requirements. For additional information regarding the competition we face, see “Business —Competition” and “—Regulation and Legislation.”

We face risks relating to competition for the leisure time and discretionary spending of audiences, which has intensified in part due to advances in technology and changes in consumer expectations and behavior.

In addition to the various competitive factors discussed above, we are subject to risks relating to increasing competition for the leisure time, shifting consumer needs and discretionary spending of consumers. We compete with all other sources of entertainment, news and information delivery, as well as a broad range of communications products and services. Technological advancements, such as new video formats and Internet streaming and downloading of programming that can be viewed on televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets, many of which have been beneficial to us, have nonetheless increased the number of entertainment and information delivery choices available to consumers and intensified the challenges posed by audience fragmentation.

Newer products and services, particularly alternative methods for the distribution, sale and viewing of content will likely continue to be developed, further increasing the number of competitors that we face. The increasing number of choices available to audiences, including low-cost or free choices, could negatively impact not only consumer demand for our products and services, but also advertisers’ willingness to purchase advertising from us. We compete for the sale of advertising revenue with television networks and stations, as well as other advertising platforms, such as radio, print and, increasingly, online media. Our failure to effectively anticipate or adapt to new technologies and changes in consumer expectations and behavior could significantly adversely affect our competitive position and our business and results of operations.

Our exposure to the economic conditions of our current and potential 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 economic conditions of our current and potential customers, the potential financial instability of our customers and their financial ability to purchase our products. If there were a general economic downturn, we may experience increased cancellations by our customers or unfavorable changes in the mix of products purchased, including an increase in the number of homes that replace their video service with Internet-delivered and/or over-air content, which would negatively impact our ability to attract customers, increase rates and maintain or increase revenue. In addition, providing video services is an established and highly penetrated business. Our ability to gain new video subscribers is dependent to a large extent on growth in occupied housing in our service areas, which is influenced by both national and local economic conditions. Weak economic conditions may also have a negative impact on our advertising revenue. These events have adversely affected us in the past, and may adversely affect our cash flow, results of operations and financial condition if a downturn were to occur.

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 continue investment in 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.



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Programming costs are rising at a much faster rate than wages or inflation, and we may not have the ability to reduce or moderate the growth rates of, or pass on to our customers, our increasing programming costs, which would adversely affect our cash flow and operating margins.

Video 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 broadcast station retransmission consent, annual increases imposed by programmers and carriage of incremental programming, including new services and VOD programming. The inability to fully pass programming cost increases on to our 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. We have programming contracts that have expired and others that will expire at or before the end of 2017. There can be no assurance that these agreements will be renewed on favorable or comparable terms. Three programmers have filed lawsuits against us regarding which legacy programming arrangements apply after the closing of the Transactions, and there can be no assurance that other programmers will not bring similar suits in the future. In addition, a number of programmers have begun to sell their services through alternative distribution channels which may cause those programmers to seek even higher programming fees from us as this may degrade security of their product, increase their operating costs or reduce their advertising revenue. 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 be in the future, forced to remove such programming channels from our line-up, which may result in a loss of customers. Our failure to carry programming that is attractive to our subscribers could adversely impact our customer levels, operations and financial results. In addition, if our Internet customers are unable to access desirable content online because content providers block or limit access by our subscribers as a class, our ability to gain and retain customers, especially Internet customers, may be negatively impacted.

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 retransmission consent regime, we 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 adversely affect our ability to compete effectively.

We operate in a highly competitive, consumer-driven and rapidly changing environment. Our success is, to a large extent, dependent on our ability to acquire, develop, adopt, upgrade and exploit new and existing technologies to address consumers’ changing demands and distinguish our services from those of our competitors. We may not be able to accurately predict technological trends or the success of new products and services. If we choose technologies or equipment that are less effective, cost-efficient or attractive to customers than those chosen by our competitors, if we offer services that fail to appeal to consumers, are not available at competitive prices or that do not function as expected, or we are not able to fund the expenditures necessary to keep pace with technological developments, our competitive position could deteriorate, and our business and financial results could suffer.

The ability of some of our competitors to introduce new technologies, products and services more quickly than we do may adversely affect our competitive position. Furthermore, advances in technology, decreases in the cost of existing technologies or changes in competitors’ product and service offerings may require us in the future to make additional research and development expenditures or to offer at no additional charge or at a lower price certain products and services that we currently offer to customers separately or at a premium. In addition, the uncertainty of our ability, and the costs, to obtain intellectual property rights from third parties could impact our ability to respond to technological advances in a timely and effective manner.

The implementation of our network-based user interface, Spectrum Guide may ultimately be unsuccessful or more expensive than anticipated. Our inability to maintain and expand our upgraded systems 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.



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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 a limited number of 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. 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 any of these parties breaches or terminates its agreement with us or otherwise fails to perform its obligations in a timely manner, demand exceeds these vendors’ capacity, they experience operating or financial difficulties, they significantly increase the amount we pay for necessary products or services, or they cease production of any necessary product due to lack of demand, profitability or a change in ownership 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. In addition, the existence of only a limited number of vendors of key technologies can lead to less product innovation and higher costs. These events could materially and adversely affect our ability to retain and attract customers and our operations, business, financial results and financial condition.

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, we developed a new conditional access security system which can be downloaded into set-top boxes with features we specify that could be provided by a variety of manufacturers. We refer to our specified set-top box as our Worldbox. Additionally, we are developing technology to allow our two current proprietary conditional access security systems to be software downloadable into our Worldbox. In order to realize the broadest benefits of our Worldbox technology, we must now complete the support for the downloadable proprietary conditional access security systems within the Worldbox. We cannot provide assurances that this implementation will ultimately be successful or completed in the expected timeframe or at the expected budget.

Our business may be adversely affected if we cannot continue to license or enforce the intellectual property rights on which our business depends.

We rely on patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws and licenses and other agreements with our employees, customers, suppliers and other parties to establish and maintain our intellectual property rights in technology and the products and services used in our operations. Also, because of the rapid pace of technological change, we both develop our own technologies, products and services and rely on technologies developed or licensed by third parties. However, any of our intellectual property rights could be challenged or invalidated, or such intellectual property rights may not be sufficient to permit us to take advantage of current industry trends or otherwise to provide competitive advantages, which could result in costly redesign efforts, discontinuance of certain product or service offerings or other competitive harm. We may not be able to obtain or continue to obtain licenses from these third parties on reasonable terms, if at all. In addition, claims of intellectual property infringement could require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements on unfavorable terms, incur substantial monetary liability or be enjoined preliminarily or permanently from further use of the intellectual property in question, which could require us to change our business practices or offerings and limit our ability to compete effectively. Even unsuccessful claims can be time-consuming and costly to defend and may divert management’s attention and resources away from our business. In recent years, the number of intellectual property infringement claims has been increasing in the communications and entertainment industries, and, with increasing frequency, we are party to litigation alleging that certain of our services or technologies infringe the intellectual property rights of others.

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

Network and information systems technologies are critical to our operating activities, both for our internal uses, such as network management and supplying services to our customers, including customer service operations and programming delivery. Network or information system shutdowns or other service disruptions caused by events such as computer hacking, dissemination of computer viruses, worms and other destructive or disruptive software, “cyber attacks,” process breakdowns, denial of service attacks and other malicious activity pose increasing risks. Both unsuccessful and successful “cyber attacks” on companies have continued to increase in frequency, scope and potential harm in recent years. While we develop and maintain systems seeking to prevent systems-related events and security breaches from occurring, the development and maintenance of these systems is costly and requires ongoing monitoring and updating as techniques used in such attacks become more sophisticated and change frequently. We, and the third parties on which we rely, may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventive measures. While from time to time attempts have been made to access our network, these attempts have not as yet resulted in any material release of information, degradation or disruption to our network and information systems.



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Our network and information systems are also vulnerable to damage or interruption from power outages, telecommunications failures, accidents, natural disasters (including extreme weather arising from short-term or any long-term changes in weather patterns), terrorist attacks and similar events. Further, the impacts associated with extreme weather or long-term changes in weather patterns, such as rising sea levels or increased and intensified storm activity, may cause increased business interruptions or may require the relocation of some of our facilities. Our system redundancy may be ineffective or inadequate, and our disaster recovery planning may not be sufficient for all eventualities.

Any of these events, if directed at, or experienced by, us or technologies upon which we depend, could have adverse consequences on our network, our customers and our business, including degradation of service, service disruption, excessive call volume to call centers, and damage to our or our customers’ equipment and data. Large expenditures may be necessary to repair or replace damaged property, networks or information systems or to protect them from similar events in the future. Moreover, the amount and scope of insurance that we maintain against losses resulting from any such events or security breaches may not be sufficient to cover our losses or otherwise adequately compensate us for any disruptions to our business that may result. Any such significant service disruption could result in damage to our reputation and credibility, customer dissatisfaction and ultimately a loss of customers or revenue. Any significant loss of customers or revenue, or significant increase in costs of serving those customers, could adversely affect our growth, financial condition and results of operations.

Furthermore, our operating activities could be subject to risks caused by misappropriation, misuse, leakage, falsification or accidental release or loss of information maintained in our information technology systems and networks and those of our third-party vendors, including customer, personnel and vendor data. We provide certain confidential, proprietary and personal information to third parties in connection with our business, and there is a risk that this information may be compromised.

As a result of the increasing awareness concerning the importance of safeguarding personal information, the potential misuse of such information and legislation that has been adopted or is being considered regarding the protection, privacy and security of personal information, information-related risks are increasing, particularly for businesses like ours that process, store and transmit large amount of data, including personal information for our customers. We could be exposed to significant costs if such risks were to materialize, and such events could damage our reputation, credibility and business and have a negative impact on our revenue. We could be subject to regulatory actions and claims made by consumers in private litigations involving privacy issues related to consumer data collection and use practices. We also could be required to expend significant capital and other resources to remedy any such security breach.

The risk described above may be increased during the period in which we are integrating our people, processes and systems as a result of the Transactions.

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

Charter had approximately $11.2 billion of federal tax net operating loss carryforwards resulting in a gross deferred tax asset of approximately $3.9 billion as of December 31, 2016. These losses resulted from the operations of Charter Communications Holdings Company, LLC ("Charter Holdco") and its subsidiaries and from loss carryforwards received as a result of the TWC Transaction. Federal tax net operating loss carryforwards expire in the years 2018 through 2035. In addition, Charter had state tax net operating loss carryforwards resulting in a gross deferred tax asset (net of federal tax benefit) of approximately $304 million as of December 31, 2016. State tax net operating loss carryforwards generally expire in the years 2017 through 2035.

In the past, Charter has experienced “ownership changes” as defined in Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). 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, Charter is subject to an annual limitation on the use of its loss carryforwards which existed at November 30, 2009 for the first “ownership change,” those that existed at May 1, 2013 for the second “ownership change,” and those created at May 18, 2016 for the third “ownership change.” The limitation on Charter's ability to use its loss carryforwards, in conjunction with the loss carryforward expiration provisions, could reduce Charter's ability to use a portion of its loss carryforwards to offset future taxable income, which could result in Charter being required to make material cash tax payments. Charter's ability to make such income tax payments, if any, will depend at such time on its liquidity or its ability to raise additional capital, and/or on receipt of payments or distributions from Charter Holdco and its subsidiaries.

If Charter were to experience additional ownership changes in the future (as a result of purchases and sales of stock by its “5-percent stockholders,” new issuances or redemptions of our stock, certain acquisitions of its stock and issuances, redemptions,


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sales or other dispositions or acquisitions of interests in its “5-percent stockholders”), Charter's ability to use its loss carryforwards could become subject to further limitations.

If Legacy TWC’s Separation Transactions (as defined below), including the Distribution (as defined below), do not qualify as tax-free, either as a result of actions taken or not taken by Legacy TWC or as a result of the failure of certain representations by Legacy TWC to be true, Legacy TWC has agreed to indemnify Time Warner Inc. for its taxes resulting from such disqualification, which would be significant.

As part of Legacy TWC’s separation from Time Warner Inc. (“Time Warner”) in March 2009 (the “Separation”), Time Warner received a private letter ruling from the IRS and Time Warner and TWC received opinions of tax counsel confirming that the transactions undertaken in connection with the Separation, including the transfer by a subsidiary of Time Warner of its 12.43% non-voting common stock interest in TW NY to TWC in exchange for 80 million newly issued shares of Legacy TWC’s Class A common stock, Legacy TWC’s payment of a special cash dividend to holders of Legacy TWC’s outstanding Class A and Class B common stock, the conversion of each share of Legacy TWC’s outstanding Class A and Class B common stock into one share of Legacy TWC common stock, and the pro-rata dividend of all shares of Legacy TWC common stock held by Time Warner to holders of record of Time Warner’s common stock (the “Distribution” and, together with all of the transactions, the “Separation Transactions”), should generally qualify as tax-free to Time Warner and its stockholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The ruling and opinions rely on certain facts, assumptions, representations and undertakings from Time Warner and Legacy TWC regarding the past and future conduct of the companies’ businesses and other matters. If any of these facts, assumptions, representations or undertakings are incorrect or not otherwise satisfied, Time Warner and its stockholders may not be able to rely on the ruling or the opinions and could be subject to significant tax liabilities. Notwithstanding the private letter ruling and opinions, the IRS could determine on audit that the Separation Transactions should be treated as taxable transactions if it determines that any of these facts, assumptions, representations or undertakings are not correct or have been violated, or for other reasons, including as a result of significant changes in the stock ownership of Time Warner or Legacy TWC after the Distribution.

Under the tax sharing agreement among Time Warner and Legacy TWC, Legacy TWC generally would be required to indemnify Time Warner against its taxes resulting from the failure of any of the Separation Transactions to qualify as tax-free as a result of (i) certain actions or failures to act by Legacy TWC or (ii) the failure of certain representations made by Legacy TWC to be true. In addition, even if Legacy TWC bears no contractual responsibility for taxes related to a failure of the Separation Transactions to qualify for their intended tax treatment, Treasury regulation section 1.1502-6 imposes on Legacy TWC several liability for all Time Warner federal income tax obligations relating to the period during which Legacy TWC was a member of the Time Warner federal consolidated tax group, including the date of the Separation Transactions. Similar provisions may apply under foreign, state or local law. Absent Legacy TWC causing the Separation Transactions to not qualify as tax-free, Time Warner has indemnified Legacy TWC against such several liability arising from a failure of the Separation Transactions to qualify for their intended tax treatment.

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 continuously evaluate and pursue small and large 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.



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Additionally, in connection with any acquisitions we complete, including the recently completed Transactions, we may not achieve the growth, synergies or other financial and operating 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. Even if we are able to integrate the business operations obtained in such transactions successfully, it is not possible to predict with certainty if or when these cost synergies, growth opportunities and benefits will occur, or the extent to which they actually will be achieved. For example, the benefits from such transactions may be offset by costs incurred in integrating new business operations or in obtaining or attempting to obtain regulatory approvals, or increased operating costs that may be experienced as a result of the transactions. Realization of any benefits and cost synergies could be affected by the factors described in other risk factors and a number of factors beyond our control, as applicable, including, without limitation, general economic conditions, increased operating costs, the response of competitors and vendors and regulatory developments. Further, contemplating or completing an acquisition and integrating an acquired business, product or technology, individually or across multiple opportunities, could divert management and employee time and resources from other matters.

Risks Related to Ownership Position of Liberty Broadband Corporation and Advance/Newhouse Partnership

Liberty Broadband and A/N have governance rights that give them influence over corporate transactions and other matters.

Liberty Broadband currently owns a significant amount of Charter Class A common stock and is entitled to certain governance rights with respect to Charter. A/N currently owns Charter Class A common stock and a significant amount of membership interests in our subsidiary Charter Holdings that are convertible into our Charter Class A common stock and is entitled to certain governance rights with respect to Charter. Members of the Charter board of directors include directors who are also officers and directors of Liberty Broadband and directors who are current or former officers and directors of A/N. Dr. John Malone is the Chairman of Liberty Broadband, and Mr. Greg Maffei is the president and chief executive officer of Liberty Broadband. Steven Miron is the Chief Executive Officer of A/N and Michael Newhouse is an officer or director of several of A/N’s affiliates. As of December 31, 2016, Liberty Broadband beneficially held approximately approximately 19% of Charter’s Class A common stock (including shares owned by Liberty Interactive over which Liberty Broadband holds an irrevocable voting proxy) and A/N beneficially held approximately approximately 13% of Charter’s Class A common stock, in each case assuming the conversion of the membership interests held by A/N. Pursuant to the stockholders agreement between Liberty Broadband, A/N and Charter, Liberty Broadband currently has the right to designate up to three directors as nominees for Charter’s board of directors and A/N currently has the right to designate up to two directors as nominees for Charter’s board of directors with one designated director to be appointed to each of the audit committee, the nominating and corporate governance committee, the compensation and benefits committee and the Finance Committee, in each case provided that each maintains certain specified voting or equity ownership thresholds and each nominee meets certain applicable requirements or qualifications.

In connection with the TWC Transaction, Liberty Broadband and Liberty Interactive entered into a proxy and right of first refusal agreement, pursuant to which Liberty Interactive granted Liberty Broadband an irrevocable proxy to vote all Charter Class A common stock owned beneficially or of record by Liberty Interactive, with certain exceptions. In addition, at the closing of the Bright House Transaction, A/N and Liberty Broadband entered into a proxy agreement pursuant to which A/N granted to Liberty Broadband a 5-year irrevocable proxy (which we refer to as the “A/N proxy”) to vote, subject to certain exceptions, that number of shares of New Charter Class A common stock and New Charter Class B common stock, in each case held by A/N (such shares are referred to as the “proxy shares”), that will result in Liberty Broadband having voting power in Charter equal to 25.01% of the outstanding voting power of Charter, provided, that the voting power of the proxy shares is capped at 7.0% of the outstanding voting power of Charter. Therefore, giving effect to the Liberty Interactive proxy and the A/N proxy and the voting cap contained in the stockholders agreement, Liberty Broadband has 25.01% of the outstanding voting power in Charter. The stockholders agreement and Charter’s amended and restated certificate of incorporation fixes the size of the board at 13 directors. Liberty Broadband and A/N are required to vote (subject to the applicable voting cap) their respective shares of Charter Class A common stock and Charter Class B common stock for the director nominees nominated by the nominating and corporate governance committee of the board of directors, including the respective designees of Liberty Broadband and A/N, and against any other nominees, except that, with respect to the unaffiliated directors, Liberty Broadband and A/N must instead vote in the same proportion as the voting securities are voted by stockholders other than A/N and Liberty Broadband or any group which includes any of them are voted, if doing so would cause a different outcome with respect to the unaffiliated directors. As a result of their rights under the stockholders agreement and their significant equity and voting stakes in Charter, Liberty Broadband and/or A/N, who may have interests different from those of other stockholders, will be able to exercise substantial influence over certain matters relating to the governance of Charter, including the approval of significant corporate actions, such as mergers and other business combination transactions.



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The stockholders agreement provides A/N and Liberty Broadband with preemptive rights with respect to issuances of Charter equity in connection with certain transactions, and in the event that A/N or Liberty Broadband exercises these rights, holders of Charter Class A common stock may experience further dilution.

The stockholders agreement provides that A/N and Liberty Broadband will have certain contractual preemptive rights over issuances of Charter equity securities in connection with capital raising transactions, merger and acquisition transactions, and in certain other circumstances. Holders of Charter Class A common stock will not be entitled to similar preemptive rights with respect to such transactions. As a result, if Liberty Broadband and/or A/N elect to exercise their preemptive rights, (i) these parties would not experience the dilution experienced by the other holders of Charter Class A common stock, and (ii) such other holders of Charter Class A common stock may experience further dilution of their interest in Charter upon such exercise.

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;
customer 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 or open Internet 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.

Legislators and regulators at all levels of government frequently consider changing, and sometimes do change, existing statutes, rules, regulations, or interpretations thereof, or prescribe new ones. Any future legislative, judicial, regulatory or administrative actions may increase our costs or impose additional restrictions on our businesses. For example, with respect to our retail broadband Internet access service, the FCC has (1) reclassified the service as a Title II service, (2) applied certain existing Title II provisions and associated regulations to it, (3) forborne from applying a range of other existing Title II provisions and associated regulations, but to varying degrees indicated that this forbearance may be only temporary, and (4) issued new rules expanding disclosure requirements and prohibiting blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and unreasonable interference with the ability of end users and edge providers to reach each other. The order also subjected broadband providers’ Internet traffic exchange rates and practices to potential FCC oversight for the first time and created a mechanism for third parties to file complaints regarding these matters. These FCC actions were upheld on appeal in June 2016, although additional appeals remain pending.

As a result of the reclassification of broadband Internet access service as a Title II communications service, the FCC adopted new privacy and data security rules for common carriers, interconnected VoIP providers, and broadband service providers on October 27, 2016. The new rules replace the prior rules and extend broader privacy protections to broadband customers, as well as voice service customers. The new rules place heightened restrictions on the use of customer information that Internet service providers obtain from the provision of broadband Internet access service (including increased notice, consumer choice, and security), and are more restrictive than other existing privacy and security frameworks. The new rules are subject to additional regulatory approval and legal challenges.

Changes to existing statutes, rules, regulations, or interpretations thereof, or adoption of new ones, could have an adverse effect on our business.

There are 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. For example, the FCC recently issued a proposal to impose


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new regulations on our point to point transport service as well as other commercial data services (“business data services”). As a result, the FCC may price regulate business data services as common carriage services and impose additional restrictions on contracting terms. The FCC also has considered adopting new navigation device rules, pursuant to Section 629 of the Communications Act, which directs the FCC to assure the availability of navigation devices (such as set-top boxes) from third party providers. In 2016, the FCC proposed burdensome new rules that would have required us to make disaggregated “information flows” available to set-top boxes and apps supplied by third parties. That proposal has not been adopted, but various parties may continue to advocate alternative regulatory approaches to reduce consumer dependency on traditional operator provided set-top boxes. The FCC also is considering the appropriate regulatory framework for VoIP service, including whether that service should be regulated under Title II.

Congress is considering legislation that could increase costs on the company, including (1) the adoption of new data security and cybersecurity legislation that could result in additional network and information security requirements for our business, (2) a change in corporate tax laws that could eliminate some of our current deductions, and (3) broadband subsidies to rural areas that could result in subsidized overbuilding of our more rural facilities.

If any of these pending laws and regulations are enacted, they could affect our operations and require significant expenditures. We cannot predict future developments in these areas, and we are already subject to Charter-specific conditions regarding certain Internet practices as a result of the FCC’s approval of the Transactions, but any changes to the regulatory framework for our Internet or VoIP services could have a negative impact on our business and results of operations.

It remains uncertain what rule changes, if any, will ultimately be adopted by Congress and the FCC and what operating or financial impact any such rules might have on us, including on our programming agreements, customer privacy and the user experience. In addition, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has been actively investigating certain industry practices of various companies and imposing forfeitures for alleged regulatory violations.

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.

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.

Our cable system franchises are non-exclusive. Accordingly, local and state franchising authorities can grant additional franchises and create additional competition for our products, 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 on more favorable terms. Potential competitors (like Google) have recently pursued and obtained local franchises that are more favorable than the incumbent operator’s franchise.

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.



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Broadband delivery of video content is not necessarily subject to the same franchising obligations applicable to our traditional cable systems. The FCC administers a program that collects Universal Service Fund contributions from telecommunications service providers and uses them to subsidize the provision of telecommunications services in high-cost areas and to low-income consumers and the provision of Internet and telecommunications services to schools, libraries and certain health care providers. A variety of regulatory changes may lead the FCC to expand the collection of Universal Service Fund contributions to encompass Internet service providers. The FCC already has begun to redirect the expenditure of some Universal Service Fund subsidies to broadband deployment in ways that could assist competitors.

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. 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. 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, and the FCC recently revised its rules, in response to changed market conditions, to make it more difficult for local franchising authorities to assert rate regulation authority. 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 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 financial results would be adversely impacted.

There has been legislative and regulatory interest in requiring companies that own multiple cable networks to make each of them available on a standalone, rather than a bundled basis to cable operators, and in requiring cable operators to offer historically bundled programming services on an á la carte basis to consumers. While any new regulation or legislation designed to enable cable operators to purchase programming on a standalone basis could be beneficial to us, any regulation or legislation that limits how we sell programming could adversely affect our business.

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 governmental 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 which would dramatically reduce the rate we can charge for leasing this capacity and dramatically increase our administrative burdens, but these remain stayed while under appeal. Legislation has been introduced in Congress in the past that, if adopted, could impact our carriage of broadcast signals by eliminating the cable industry’s compulsory copyright license. The FCC also continues to consider changes to the rules affecting the relationship between programmers (including broadcasters) and multichannel video distributors, including potential loosening of media ownership rules.


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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.

Our voice service is subject to regulatory burdens which may increase, causing us to incur additional costs.

We offer voice communications services over our broadband network using 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, and at least one state (Minnesota) has asserted jurisdiction over the company’s VoIP services. We have filed a legal challenge to that jurisdictional assertion, which is now pending before a federal district court in Minnesota. Telecommunications companies generally are subject to other significant regulation which could also be extended to VoIP providers. The FCC has already extended certain traditional telecommunications carrier requirements to many VoIP providers such as us. If additional telecommunications regulations are applied to our VoIP service, it could cause us to incur 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. We lease space 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.

The legal proceedings information set forth in Note 20 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is incorporated herein by reference.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.



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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
2015
 
 
 
 
First quarter
 
$
193.46

 
$
150.60

Second quarter
 
$
193.19

 
$
167.84

Third quarter
 
$
194.50

 
$
167.36

Fourth quarter
 
$
193.33

 
$
174.81

 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
 
 
 
First quarter
 
$
204.10

 
$
159.53

Second quarter
 
$
233.11

 
$
197.91

Third quarter
 
$
277.56

 
$
231.77

Fourth quarter
 
$
292.19

 
$
244.10


(B)
Holders

As of December 31, 2016, there were approximately 15,035 holders of record of Charter’s Class A common stock and one holder of Charter's Class B 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 Charter Operating credit facilities 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. 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.
 


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(D) Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

The following information is provided as of December 31, 2016 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
 
12,905,216

(1)
 
$
184.22

 
3,155,002

(1)
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
 

 
 
$

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TOTAL
 
12,905,216

(1)
 
 
 
3,155,002

(1)

(1)
This total does not include 9,811 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 16 to our accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”



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(E) Performance Graph

The graph below shows the cumulative total return on Charter’s Class A common stock for the period from December 31, 2011 through December 31, 2016, 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 Legacy TWC (through May 18, 2016).  The results shown assume that $100 was invested on December 31, 2011 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.
performancechartv2.jpg
(F)  Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

During 2016, 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.



35



(G) Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer

The following table presents Charter’s purchases of equity securities completed during the fourth quarter of 2016 (dollars in millions, except per share data).
Period

Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs (2)
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs (2)
October 1 - 31, 2016
1,845,823
$
262.58

1,784,834

$750
November 1 - 30, 2016
1,493,418
$
262.14

1,442,144

$370
December 1 - 31, 2016
865,145
$
280.59

793,645

$1,654

(1) 
Includes 60,989, 51,274 and 71,500 shares withheld from employees for the payment of taxes and exercise costs upon the exercise of stock options or vesting of other equity awards for the months of October, November and December 2016, respectively.
(2) 
In 2016, Charter purchased approximately 5.1 million shares of its Class A common stock for approximately $1.3 billion pursuant to authorizations by Charter’s board of directors of $3 billion ($750 million authorized on July 26, 2016, $750 million on October 25, 2016 and $1.5 billion on December 2, 2016). Accordingly, as of December 31, 2016 and provided Charter’s leverage ratio remains at 4 to 4.5 times and Charter Operating’s leverage remains below 3.5 times, management has authority to cause Charter to purchase an additional $1.7 billion of Charter’s Class A common stock without taking into account shares or units that may be purchased from A/N. Effective November 1, 2016, Charter's board of directors granted authority for a new $750 million of Class A common stock buybacks under the rolling six-month authority without taking into account any Class A common stock purchased prior to November 1. As a result, a portion of the $1.7 billion of authority is under the authority of management to approve up to $750 million for Class A common stock buybacks in any six-month period. In December 2016, Charter and A/N entered into a letter agreement ("Letter Agreement") that requires A/N to sell to Charter or to Charter Holdings, on a monthly basis, a number of shares of Charter Class A common stock or Charter Holdings common units that represents a pro rata participation by A/N and its affiliates in any repurchases of shares of Charter Class A common stock from persons other than A/N effected by Charter during the immediately preceding calendar month, at a purchase price equal to the average price paid by Charter for the shares repurchased from persons other than A/N during such immediately preceding calendar month. A/N and Charter both have the right to terminate or suspend the pro rata repurchase arrangement on a prospective basis once Charter or Charter Holdings have repurchased shares of Class A common stock or Charter Holdings common units from A/N and its affiliates for an aggregate purchase price of $537 million. In December 2016, pursuant to this Letter Agreement, Charter purchased Charter Holdings common units from A/N at a price of $289.83 per unit, or $218 million. Charter has established a Rule 10b5-1 plan in connection with its share repurchase activity and cannot predict when or if it will repurchase more shares of Charter Class A common stock pursuant to the current plan as such plan includes a price grid including a limit where Charter would not buy shares under the Rule 10b5-1 plan currently in place. Charter may also buy shares of Charter Class A common stock, from time to time, pursuant to private transactions outside of its Rule 10b5-1 plan and any such repurchases would also trigger the repurchases from A/N pursuant to and to the extent provided in the Letter Agreement.



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Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

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

 
Years Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Statement of Operations Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
$
29,003

 
$
9,754

 
$
9,108

 
$
8,155

 
$
7,504

Income from operations
$
3,355

 
$
1,114

 
$
971

 
$
909

 
$
915

Interest expense, net
$
2,499

 
$
1,306

 
$
911

 
$
846

 
$
907

Income (loss) before income taxes
$
820

 
$
(331
)
 
$
53

 
$
(49
)
 
$
(47
)
Net income (loss) attributable to Charter shareholders
$
3,522

 
$
(271
)
 
$
(183
)
 
$
(169
)
 
$
(304
)
Income (loss) per common share, basic
$
17.05

 
$
(2.68
)
 
$
(1.88
)
 
$
(1.83
)
 
$
(3.38
)
Income (loss) per common share, diluted
$
15.94

 
$
(2.68
)
 
$
(1.88
)
 
$
(1.83
)
 
$
(3.38
)
Weighted average shares outstanding, basic (a)
206,539,100

 
101,152,647

 
97,991,915

 
92,169,292

 
90,110,754

Weighted average shares outstanding, diluted (a)
234,791,439

 
101,152,647

 
97,991,915

 
92,169,292

 
90,110,754

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Balance Sheet Data (end of period):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investment in cable properties
$
144,396

 
$
16,375

 
$
16,652

 
$
16,556

 
$
14,870

Total assets (b)
$
149,067

 
$
39,316

 
$
24,388

 
$
17,129

 
$
15,440

Total debt (b)
$
61,747

 
$
35,723

 
$
20,887

 
$
14,031

 
$
12,670

Total shareholders’ equity (deficit)
$
50,366

 
$
(46
)
 
$
146

 
$
151

 
$
149

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Financial Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ratio of earnings to fixed charges (c)
1.33

 
N/A

 
1.06

 
N/A

 
N/A

Deficiency of earnings to cover fixed charges (c)
N/A

 
$
331

 
N/A

 
$
49

 
$
47


(a)
Weighted average number of shares outstanding for all periods presented has been recast to reflect the application of the Parent Merger Exchange Ratio. See Note 2 to our accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
(b)
Years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012 have been restated to reflect the adoption of certain new accounting standards in 2015, including Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2015-03, Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs, and ASU 2015-17, Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes.
(c)
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.

Comparability of the above information from year to year is affected by acquisitions and dispositions completed by us, including the Transactions. See “Part I. Item 1. Business” for a discussion regarding the Transactions.

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 “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Overview

We are the second largest cable operator in the United States and a leading broadband communications services company providing video, Internet and voice services to approximately 26.2 million residential and business customers at December 31, 2016. In addition, we sell video and online advertising inventory to local, regional and national advertising customers and fiber-delivered communications and managed IT solutions to larger enterprise customers. We also own and operate regional sports networks and local sports, news and community channels and sell security and home management services to the residential marketplace. See


37



“Part I. Item 1. Business — Products and Services” for further description of these services, including customer statistics for different services.

Since 2012, Legacy Charter has actively invested in its network and operations and improved the quality and value of the products and packages that Legacy Charter offered. Through the roll-out of Spectrum pricing and packaging we have simplified our offers and improved our packaging of products, delivering more value to new and existing customers. Further, through the transition of our Legacy Charter markets to our all-digital platform, we increased our offerings to more than 200 HD channels in most of the Legacy Charter markets and offered Internet speeds of at least 60 or 100 Mbps, among other benefits. We believe that this product set combined with improved customer service, as we insource our workforce in our call centers and in our field operations, has led to lower customer churn and longer customer lifetimes.

As a result of the Transactions, 2016 revenues increased by over $18.6 billion year over year. We also saw an increase in expenses related to our increased scale. In September 2016, we began launching SPP to Legacy TWC markets and we expect that by mid 2017, we will offer SPP in all Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House markets. In 2017, we intend to begin converting the remaining Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House analog markets to an all-digital platform. Our corporate organization, as well as our marketing, sales and product development departments, are now centralized. Field operations are managed through eleven regional areas, each designed to represent a combination of designated marketing areas and managed with largely the same set of field employees that were with the three legacy companies prior to completion of the Transactions. Over a multi-year period, Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House customer care centers will migrate to Legacy Charter's model of using segmented, virtualized, U.S.-based in-house call centers. We will focus on deploying superior products and service with minimal service disruptions as we integrate our information technology and network operations. We expect customer and financial results to trend similar to Legacy Charter following the implementation of the Legacy Charter operating strategies across the Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House markets. As a result of implementing our operating strategy at Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House, we cannot be certain that we will be able to grow revenues or maintain our margins at recent historical rates.

The Company realized revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and income from operations during the periods presented as follows (in millions; all percentages are calculated using whole numbers. Minor differences may exist due to rounding).

 
Years ended December 31,
 
Growth
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2016 over 2015
 
2015 over 2014
Actual
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
$
29,003

 
$
9,754

 
$
9,108

 
197.3
%
 
7.1
%
Adjusted EBITDA
$
10,592

 
$
3,406

 
$
3,190

 
211.0
%
 
6.8
%
Income from operations
$
3,355

 
$
1,114

 
$
971

 
201.3
%
 
14.8
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pro Forma
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
$
40,023

 
$
37,394

 
 
 
7.0
%
 
 
Adjusted EBITDA
$
14,464

 
$
13,004

 
 
 
11.2
%
 
 
Income from operations
$
4,801

 
$
3,396

 
 
 
41.4
%
 
 

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as consolidated net income (loss) plus net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, stock compensation expense, loss on extinguishment of debt, (gain) loss on financial instruments, net, other (income) expense, net and other operating (income) expenses, such as merger and restructuring costs, other pension benefits, special charges and gain (loss) on sale or retirement of assets. See “—Use of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow” for further information on Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow.  Growth in total revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and income from operations was primarily due to the Transactions.  

On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, total revenue growth was primarily due to growth in our Internet and commercial businesses. On a pro forma basis, Adjusted EBITDA growth was primarily due to an increase in residential and commercial revenues offset by increases in programming costs and other operating costs. In addition to the factors discussed above, income from operations on a pro forma basis was affected by increases in depreciation and amortization, merger and restructuring costs and stock compensation expense.

Approximately 90%, 91% and 90% of our revenues for years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, 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


38



certain commercial customers. The remaining 10%, 9% and 10% of revenue for fiscal years 2016, 2015 and 2014, 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 VOD 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.

We incurred the following transition costs in connection with the Transactions (in millions).

 
Years ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Operating expenses
$
156

 
$
72

 
$
14

Other operating expenses
$
970

 
$
70

 
$
38

Interest expense
$
390

 
$
521

 
$
75

Capital expenditures
$
460

 
$
115

 
$
27


Amounts included in transition operating expenses and transition capital expenditures represent incremental costs incurred to integrate the Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House operations and to bring the three companies’ systems and processes into a uniform operating structure.  Costs are incremental and would not be incurred absent the integration.  Other operating expenses associated with the Transactions represent merger and restructuring costs and include advisory, legal and accounting fees, employee retention costs, employee termination costs and other exit costs.  Interest expense associated with the Transactions represents interest incurred on the CCO Safari II, CCO Safari III and CCOH Safari notes issued in advance of the closing of the Transactions, the proceeds of which were held in escrow to finance the Transactions.

We have a history of net losses.  Our net losses were 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 higher non-cash income tax expense. We will incur significant increases in interest expense and depreciation and amortization as a result of the Transactions and will incur restructuring and transition costs for at least one to two years, and as a result, absent non-recurring impacts such as the reversal of the income tax valuation allowance in the second quarter of 2016, we may incur net losses in the future.

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

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 financial instruments, but changes in estimates or judgment in these other items could also have a material impact on our financial statements.



39



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, 2016 and 2015, the net carrying amount of our property, plant and equipment (consisting primarily of cable distribution systems) was approximately $33.0 billion (representing 22% of total assets) and $8.3 billion (representing 49% of total assets excluding restricted cash and cash equivalents), respectively. Total capital expenditures for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014 were approximately $5.3 billion, $1.8 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively.

Capitalization of labor and overhead costs. Costs associated with network construction, initial placement of the customer drop to the dwelling and the initial placement of outlets within a dwelling along with the costs associated with the initial deployment of customer premise equipment necessary to provide video, Internet or voices services, are capitalized.  Costs capitalized include materials, direct labor, and certain indirect costs. These indirect costs are associated with the activities of personnel who assist in installation activities, and consist of compensation and overhead costs associated with these support functions.  While our capitalization is based on specific activities, once capitalized, we track these costs on a composite basis 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.  The costs of disconnecting service and removing customer premise equipment from a dwelling and the costs to reconnect a customer drop or to redeploy previously installed customer premise equipment are charged to operating expensed as incurred. Costs for repairs and maintenance are charged to operating expense as incurred, while plant and equipment replacement, including replacement of certain components, betterments, and replacement of cable drops and outlets, 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 installations include such activities as:

dispatching a “truck roll” to the customer’s dwelling or business for service connection or placement of new equipment;
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 equipment in connection with the installation of video, Internet or voice 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, as well as testing signal levels at the pole or pedestal.

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, (iii) the cost of support personnel, such as care personnel and dispatchers, who assist with capitalizable installation activities, and (iv) indirect costs directly attributable to capitalizable activities.

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 direct labor and overhead of $991 million, $420 million and $427 million, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

Valuation and impairment of property, plant and equipment. 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


40



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, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

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 physical depreciation and functional and economic obsolescence as of the appraisal date. 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 2016 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, 2016 would be an increase in annual depreciation expense of approximately $1.7 billion.  The effect of a one-year increase in the weighted average remaining useful life of our property, plant and equipment as of December 31, 2016 would be a decrease in annual depreciation expense of approximately $863 million.

Depreciation expense related to property, plant and equipment totaled $5.0 billion, $1.9 billion and $1.8 billion for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively, representing approximately 19%, 21% and 22% 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 premise equipment and installations
 
3-8 years
Vehicles and equipment
 
3-6 years
Buildings and 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, 2016 and 2015 was approximately $67.3 billion (representing 45% of total assets) and $6.0 billion (representing 35% of total assets excluding restricted cash and cash equivalents), respectively. For more information and a complete discussion of how we value and test franchise assets for impairment, see Note 6 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
 
We perform an impairment assessment of franchise assets annually or more frequently as warranted by events or changes in circumstances. We performed a qualitative assessment in 2016. Our assessment included consideration of the fair value appraisals of Legacy Charter and the newly-acquired operations performed as of the date of acquisition for tax and acquisition accounting purposes, respectively, along with a multitude of factors that affect the fair value of our franchise assets. Examples of such factors include environmental and competitive changes within our operating footprint, actual and projected operating performance, the consistency of our operating margins, equity and debt market trends, including changes in our market capitalization, and changes in our regulatory and political landscape, among other factors. Based on our assessment, we concluded that it was more likely than not that the estimated fair values of our franchise assets equals or exceeds their carrying values and that a quantitative impairment test is not required.

The appraisals indicated that the fair value of our franchise assets exceeded carrying value by approximately 25% in the aggregate, with the excess entirely attributable to the franchise assets of Legacy Charter to which acquisition accounting was not applied. At our unit of accounting level for franchise asset impairment testing, the amount by which fair value exceeds carrying value varies based on the extent to which the unit of accounting was comprised of newly-acquired operations. For units of accounting comprised entirely or substantially of newly-acquired operations, we believe the carrying value approximates the fair value given that there has been no significant adverse changes in factors impacting our fair value estimates since the Transaction date. For units of accounting comprised of at least 25% Legacy Charter operations, the fair value exceeded carrying value by a range of 36% to 260%.


41




Valuation and impairment of goodwill. The net carrying value of goodwill as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 was approximately $29.5 billion (representing 20% of total assets) and $1.2 billion (representing 7% of total assets excluding restricted cash and cash equivalents), respectively. For more information and a complete discussion on how we test goodwill for impairment, see Note 6 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” We perform our impairment assessment of goodwill annually as of November 30th. As with our franchise impairment testing, we elected to perform a qualitative assessment of goodwill in 2016 which included the fair value appraisals and other factors described above. Based on the appraisals, we determined that the fair value of our goodwill exceeded carrying value by approximately 28% as of the closing of the Transactions. Given the limited amount of time between the closing of the Transactions and the completion of the assessment and absence of significant adverse changes in factors impacting our fair value estimates, we concluded that it is more likely than not that our goodwill is not impaired.

Valuation, impairment and amortization of customer relationships. The net carrying value of customer relationships as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 was approximately $14.6 billion (representing 10% of total assets) and $856 million (representing 5% of total assets excluding restricted cash and cash equivalents), respectively. Amortization expense related to customer relationships for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014 was approximately $1.9 billion, $249 million and $282 million, respectively. No impairment of customer relationships was recorded in the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014. For more information and a complete discussion on our valuation methodology and amortization method, see Note 6 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Income taxes

As of December 31, 2016, Charter had approximately $11.2 billion of federal tax net operating loss carryforwards resulting in a gross deferred tax asset of approximately $3.9 billion. These losses resulted from the operations of Charter Holdco and its subsidiaries and from loss carryforwards received as a result of the TWC Transaction. Federal tax net operating loss carryforwards expire in the years 2018 through 2035. In addition, as of December 31, 2016, Charter had state tax net operating loss carryforwards, resulting in a gross deferred tax asset (net of federal tax benefit) of approximately $304 million. State tax net operating loss carryforwards generally expire in the years 2017 through 2035.  Such tax loss carryforwards can accumulate and be used to offset Charter’s future taxable income. As of December 31, 2016, all of Charter's federal tax loss carryforwards are subject to Section 382 and other restrictions. Pursuant to these restrictions, Charter estimates that approximately $5.4 billion in 2017, $3.8 billion in 2018, $432 million in 2019 and an additional $226 million annually over each of the next five years of federal tax loss carryforwards, should become unrestricted and available for Charter’s use. An additional $415 million is currently subject to a valuation allowance. Charter’s state tax loss carryforwards are subject to similar but varying restrictions.

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. In evaluating the need for a valuation allowance, management takes into account various factors, including the expected level of future taxable income, available tax planning strategies and reversals of existing taxable temporary differences. Due to Legacy Charter’s history of losses, Legacy Charter was historically unable to assume future taxable income in its analysis and accordingly valuation allowances were established against the deferred tax assets, net of deferred tax liabilities, from definite-lived assets for book accounting purposes. However, as a result of the TWC Transaction, deferred tax liabilities resulting from the book fair value adjustment increased significantly and future taxable income that will result from the reversal of existing temporary differences for which deferred tax liabilities are recognized, is sufficient to conclude it is more likely than not that we will realize substantially all of our deferred tax assets. As a result, Charter has reversed approximately $3.3 billion of its valuation allowance and recognized a corresponding income tax benefit in the consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2016. Approximately $145 million of valuation allowance associated with federal tax net operating loss carryforwards and approximately $55 million of valuation allowance associated with state tax loss carryforwards and other miscellaneous deferred tax assets remains on the December 31, 2016 consolidated balance sheet.

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. 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.



42



No tax years for Charter, Charter Holdings or Charter Holdco, for income tax purposes, are currently under examination by the IRS. Charter and Charter Holdings' 2016 tax year remains open for assessment. Legacy Charter’s tax years ending 2013 through the short period return dated May 17, 2016 remain subject to examination and assessment. Years prior to 2013 remain open solely for purposes of examination of Legacy Charter’s loss and credit carryforwards. The IRS is currently examining Legacy TWC’s income tax returns for 2011 and 2012. Legacy TWC’s tax years ending 2013 through 2015 remain subject to examination and assessment. Prior to Legacy TWC’s separation from Time Warner Inc. (“Time Warner”) in March 2009 (the “Separation”), Legacy TWC was included in the consolidated U.S. federal and certain state income tax returns of Time Warner. The IRS is currently examining Time Warner’s 2008 through 2010 income tax returns. Time Warner’s income tax returns for 2005 to 2007, which are periods prior to the separation, were settled with the exception of an immaterial item that has been referred to the IRS Appeals Division. We have unrecognized tax benefits, exclusive of interest and penalties, totaling approximately $172 million and $5 million as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively.

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 these 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).

Pension plans

Upon completion of the TWC Transaction, we assumed Legacy TWC’s pension plans. We sponsor two qualified defined benefit pension plans, the TWC Pension Plan and the TWC Union Pension Plan (collectively, the “TWC Pension Plans”), that provide pension benefits to a majority of Legacy TWC employees. We also provide a nonqualified defined benefit pension plan for certain employees under the TWC Excess Pension Plan. As of December 31, 2016, the accumulated benefit obligation and fair value of plan assets for the TWC Pension Plans was $3.3 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively, and the net underfunded liability of the TWC Pension Plans was recorded as a $1 million noncurrent asset, $6 million current liability and $309 million long-term liability.

Pension benefits are based on formulas that reflect the employees’ years of service and compensation during their employment period. Actuarial gains or losses are changes in the amount of either the benefit obligation or the fair value of plan assets resulting from experience different from that assumed or from changes in assumptions. We have elected to follow a mark-to-market pension accounting policy for recording the actuarial gains or losses annually during the fourth quarter, or earlier if a remeasurement event occurs during an interim period. We use a December 31 measurement date for our pension plans.

We recognized a net periodic pension benefit of $813 million in 2016. Net periodic pension benefit or expense is determined using certain assumptions, including the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets, discount rate and expected rate of compensation increases. We determined the discount rate used to compute pension expense based on the yield of a large population of high-quality corporate bonds with cash flows sufficient in timing and amount to settle projected future defined benefit payments. In developing the expected long-term rate of return on assets, we considered the current pension portfolio’s composition, past


43



average rate of earnings, and our asset allocation targets. We used a discount rate of 3.99% from the date of the Transaction to June 30, 2016, and 3.72% from July 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016 to compute 2016 pension expense. A decrease in the discount rate of 25 basis points would result in a $154 million increase in our pension plan benefit obligation as of December 31, 2016 and net periodic pension expense recognized in 2016 under our mark-to-market accounting policy. Our expected long-term rate of return on plan assets used to compute 2016 pension expense was 6.50%. A decrease in the expected long-term rate of return of 25 basis points, from 6.50% to 6.25%, while holding all other assumptions constant, would result in an increase in our 2017 net periodic pension expense of approximately $7 million. See Note 21 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for additional discussion on these assumptions.

Results of Operations

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

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
2015
2014
Revenues
$
29,003

 
$
9,754

 
$
9,108

 
 
 
 
 
 
Costs and Expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
Operating costs and expenses (exclusive of items shown separately below)
18,655

 
6,426

 
5,973

Depreciation and amortization
6,907

 
2,125

 
2,102

Other operating expenses, net
86

 
89

 
62

 
25,648

 
8,640

 
8,137

Income from operations
3,355

 
1,114

 
971

 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
Interest expense, net
(2,499
)
 
(1,306
)
 
(911
)
Loss on extinguishment of debt
(111
)
 
(128
)
 

Gain (loss) on financial instruments, net
89

 
(4
)
 
(7
)
Other expense, net
(14
)
 
(7
)
 

 
(2,535
)
 
(1,445
)
 
(918
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income (loss) before income taxes
820

 
(331
)
 
53

Income tax benefit (expense)
2,925

 
60

 
(236
)
Consolidated net income (loss)
3,745

 
(271
)
 
(183
)
Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests
(223
)
 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to Charter shareholders
$
3,522

 
$
(271
)
 
$
(183
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
EARNINGS (LOSS) PER COMMON SHARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO CHARTER SHAREHOLDERS:
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
$
17.05

 
$
(2.68
)
 
$
(1.88
)
Diluted
$
15.94

 
$
(2.68
)
 
$
(1.88
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average common shares outstanding, basic
206,539,100

 
101,152,647

 
97,991,915

Weighted average common shares outstanding, diluted
234,791,439

 
101,152,647

 
97,991,915


Revenues. Total revenues grew $19.2 billion or 197% in the year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to 2015 and grew $646 million or 7.1% in the year ended December 31, 2015 as compared to 2014. Revenue growth primarily reflects the Transactions and increases in the number of residential Internet and triple play customers and in commercial business customers, growth in rates driven by higher equipment revenue and rate increases offset by a decrease in basic video customers. The Transactions increased revenues for year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to 2015 by approximately $18.6 billion. On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, total revenue growth was 7% for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to 2015.



44



Revenues by service offering were as follows (dollars in millions; all percentages are calculated using whole numbers. Minor differences may exist due to rounding):

 
Years ended December 31,
 
Years ended December 31,
 
Actual
 
Pro Forma
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2016 vs. 2015 Growth
 
2015 vs. 2014 Growth
 
2016
 
2015
 
2016 vs. 2015 Growth
Video
$
11,967

 
$
4,587

 
$
4,443

 
160.9
%
 
3.2
 %
 
$
16,390

 
$
16,029

 
2.3
%
Internet
9,272

 
3,003

 
2,576

 
208.7
%
 
16.6
 %
 
12,688

 
11,295

 
12.3
%
Voice
2,005

 
539

 
575

 
272.2
%
 
(6.4
)%
 
2,905

 
2,842

 
2.2
%
Residential revenue
23,244

 
8,129

 
7,594

 
185.9
%
 
7.0
 %
 
31,983

 
30,166

 
6.0
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Small and medium business
2,480

 
764

 
676

 
224.7
%
 
13.0
 %
 
3,409

 
3,009

 
13.3
%
Enterprise
1,429

 
363

 
317

 
293.0
%
 
14.8
 %
 
2,025

 
1,818

 
11.4
%
Commercial revenue
3,909

 
1,127

 
993

 
246.7
%
 
13.5
 %
 
5,434

 
4,827

 
12.6
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Advertising sales
1,235

 
309

 
341

 
300.3
%
 
(9.5
)%
 
1,696

 
1,524

 
11.3
%
Other
615

 
189

 
180

 
225.0
%
 
5.0
 %
 
910

 
877

 
4.0
%
 
$
29,003

 
$
9,754

 
$
9,108

 
197.3
%
 
7.1
 %
 
$
40,023

 
$
37,394

 
7.0
%
  
Video revenues consist primarily of revenues from basic and digital video services provided to our residential customers, as well as franchise fees, equipment rental and video installation revenue. Excluding the impacts of the Transactions, residential video customers increased by 42,000 in 2016 and decreased by 2,000 in 2015. The increases in video revenues are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2016 compared to 2015
 
2015 compared to 2014
Incremental video services, price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
 
$
103

 
$
161

Increase (decrease) in VOD and pay-per-view
 
(22
)
 
15

Increase (decrease) in average basic video customers
 
35

 
(32
)
TWC Transaction
 
6,263

 

Bright House Transaction
 
1,001

 

 
 
$
7,380

 
$
144


On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, residential video customers decreased by 226,000 in 2016 and the increase in video revenues is attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
2016 compared to 2015
Incremental video services, price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
$
498

Decrease in VOD and pay-per-view
(69
)
Decrease in average basic video customers
(68
)
 
$
361




45



Excluding the impacts of the Transactions, residential Internet customers grew by 461,000 and 442,000 customers in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The increases in Internet revenues from our residential customers are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2016 compared to 2015
 
2015 compared to 2014
Increase in average residential Internet customers
 
$
284

 
$
242

Service level changes, price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
 
62

 
185

TWC Transaction
 
5,063

 

Bright House Transaction
 
860

 

 
 
$
6,269

 
$
427


On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, residential Internet customers increased by 1,463,000 in 2016 and the increase in Internet revenues is attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
2016 compared to 2015
Increase in average residential Internet customers
$
957

Service level changes, price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
436

 
$
1,393


Excluding the impacts of the Transactions, residential voice customers grew by 95,000 and 159,000 customers in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The change in voice revenues from our residential customers is attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2016 compared to 2015
 
2015 compared to 2014
Increase in average residential voice customers
 
$
28

 
$
34

Price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
 
(18
)
 
(70
)
TWC Transaction
 
1,247

 

Bright House Transaction
 
209

 

 
 
$
1,466

 
$
(36
)

On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, residential voice customers increased by 368,000 in 2016 and the increase in voice revenues is attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
2016 compared to 2015
Increase in average residential voice customers
$
229

Price adjustments and bundle revenue allocation
(166
)
 
$
63



46




Excluding the impacts of the Transactions, small and medium business PSUs increased 128,000 and 109,000 in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The increases in small and medium business commercial revenues are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
 
2016 compared to 2015
 
2015 compared to 2014
Increase in small and medium business customers
 
$
127

 
$
112

Price adjustments
 
(38
)
 
(24
)
TWC Transaction
 
1,408

 

Bright House Transaction
 
219

 

 
 
$
1,716

 
$
88


On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, small and medium business PSUs increased by 291,000 in 2016 and the increase in small and medium business commercial revenues is attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
2016 compared to 2015
Increase in small and medium business customers
$
359

Price adjustments
41

 
$
400


Excluding the impacts of the Transactions, enterprise PSUs increased 6,000 and 5,000 in 2016 and 2015, respectively. On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, enterprise PSUs increased by 16,000 in 2016. The Transactions increased enterprise commercial revenues for year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to 2015 by approximately $1.0 billion. On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, enterprise commercial revenues increased $207 million during the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to 2015 primarily due to growth in customers.

Advertising sales revenues consist primarily of revenues from commercial advertising customers, programmers and other vendors, as well as local cable and advertising on regional sports and news channels. Advertising sales revenues increased in 2016 primarily due to the Transactions and decreased in 2015 primarily as a result of a decrease in political advertising. The Transactions increased advertising sales revenues for the year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to 2015 by $898 million. On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, advertising sales revenues increased $172 million during the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to 2015 primarily due to an increase in political advertising.

Other revenues consist of revenue from regional sports and news channels (excluding intercompany charges or advertising sales on those channels), home shopping, late payment fees, wire maintenance fees and other miscellaneous revenues. The increase in 2016 was primarily due to the Transactions. The Transactions increased other revenues for the year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to 2015 by $429 million. On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, other revenues increased $33 million during the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to 2015 primarily due to a settlement related to an early contract termination.


47




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

 
 
2016 compared to 2015
 
2015 compared to 2014
Programming
 
$
4,356

 
$
219

Regulatory, connectivity and produced content
 
1,032

 
7

Costs to service customers
 
3,468

 
26

Marketing
 
1,071

 
11

Transition costs
 
84

 
58

Other
 
2,218

 
132

 
 
$
12,229

 
$
453


Programming costs were approximately $7.0 billion, $2.7 billion and $2.5 billion, representing 38%, 42% and 41% of operating costs and expenses for each of the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. The increase in operating costs and expenses for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to 2015 was primarily due to the Transactions.

The increase in other expense is attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
2016 compared to 2015
 
2015 compared to 2014
Corporate costs
$
540

 
$
44

Advertising sales expense
405

 
10

Enterprise
390

 
7

Property tax and insurance
198

 
17

Bad debt expense
188

 
15

Stock compensation expense
166

 
23

Bank fees
114

 
6

Other
217

 
10

 
$
2,218

 
$
132


The increases in other expense for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to the corresponding prior periods were primarily due to the Transactions.

On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, increases in our operating costs and expenses, exclusive of items shown separately in the consolidated statements of operations, are attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
2016 compared to 2015
Programming
$
661

Regulatory, connectivity and produced content
28

Costs to service customers
76

Marketing
53

Transition costs
84

Other
316

 
$
1,218


On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, programming costs were approximately $9.6 billion and $9.0 billion, representing 37% and 36% of total operating costs and expenses for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively.


48




Programming costs consist primarily of costs paid to programmers for basic, digital, premium, VOD, and pay-per-view programming. The increase in pro forma programming costs is primarily a result of annual contractual rate adjustments, including increases in amounts paid for retransmission consents and the introduction of new networks offset by synergies as a result of the Transactions and lower pay-per-view programming expenses.  We expect pro forma programming expenses will continue to increase due to a variety of factors, including annual increases imposed by programmers with additional selling power as a result of media consolidation, increased demands by owners of broadcast stations for payment for retransmission consent or linking carriage of other services to retransmission consent, and additional programming, particularly new services. 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.

On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, the increase in other expense is attributable to the following (dollars in millions):

 
2016 compared to 2015
Advertising sales expense
$
100

Corporate costs
86

Stock compensation expense
49

Enterprise
48

Bank fees
33

 
$
316


The increase in advertising sales expense relates primarily to higher advertising sales revenue. The increase in corporate costs relates primarily to increases in the number of employees including increases in engineering and IT. Stock compensation expense increased primarily due to increases in headcount and the value of equity issued.

Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $4.8 billion in 2016 compared to 2015 primarily as a result of additional depreciation and amortization related to the Transactions, inclusive of the incremental amounts as a result of the higher fair values recorded in acquisition accounting. Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $23 million in 2015 compared to 2014 which primarily represents depreciation on more recent capital expenditures 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):

 
 
2016 compared to 2015
 
2015 compared to 2014
Merger and restructuring costs
 
$
900

 
$
32

Other pension benefits
 
(899
)
 

Special charges, net
 
2

 
1

(Gain) loss on sale of assets, net
 
(6
)
 
(6
)
 
 
$
(3
)
 
$
27


The increase in merger and restructuring costs is primarily due to approximately $262 million of Legacy Charter and Legacy TWC contingent financing and advisory transaction fees paid at the closing of the Transactions as well as approximately $642 million of employee retention and employee termination costs incurred during 2016. Other pension benefits includes the pension curtailment gain of $675 million, remeasurement gain of $195 million, expected return on plan assets of $116 million offset by interest costs of $87 million. For more information, see Note 15 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Interest expense, net. Net interest expense increased by $1.2 billion in 2016 from 2015 and by $395 million in 2015 from 2014 primarily as a result of an increase of $463 million and $446 million, respectively, of interest expense associated with the debt incurred to fund the Transactions, and, in 2016, $604 million associated with debt assumed from Legacy TWC.



49



Loss on extinguishment of debt. Loss on extinguishment of debt of $111 million and $128 million for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 primarily represents losses recognized as a result of the repurchase of CCO Holdings notes. For more information, see Note 9 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Gain (loss) on financial instruments, net. Interest rate derivative instruments are used to manage our interest costs and to reduce our exposure to increases in floating interest rates, and cross-currency derivative instruments are used to manage foreign exchange risk related to the foreign currency denominated debt assumed in the TWC Transaction. We recorded gains of $89 million and losses of $4 million and $7 million during the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. Gains and losses on financial instruments are recognized due to changes in the fair value of our interest rate and, in 2016 our cross currency derivative instruments and the remeasurement of the fixed-rate British pound sterling denominated notes (the “Sterling Notes”) into U.S. dollars. The year ended December 31, 2016 also includes an $11 million loss realized upon termination of Legacy TWC interest rate swap derivative instruments. For more information, see Note 12 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Other expense, net. Other expense, net primarily represents equity losses on our equity-method investments. For more information, see Note 7 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Income tax benefit (expense). We recognized income tax benefits of $2.9 billion and $60 million for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively, and income tax expense of $236 million for the year ended December 31, 2014. Certain of the deferred tax liabilities that were assumed in connection with the closing of the TWC Transaction will reverse and provide a source of future taxable income, resulting in a reduction of approximately $3.3 billion of Legacy Charter’s preexisting valuation allowance associated with its deferred tax assets. Such release of Legacy Charter’s valuation allowance was recognized directly to income tax benefit in the consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2016. Income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2016 was also impacted by a change in a state tax law that resulted in approximately $65 million of tax benefit. The tax provision in future periods will vary based on current and future temporary differences, as well as future operating results. For more information, see Note 17 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

The income tax benefit in 2015 was primarily due to the deemed liquidation of Charter Holdco solely for federal and state income tax purposes, resulting in a $187 million deferred income tax benefit offset by income tax expense primarily through increases in deferred tax liabilities. Income tax expense was recognized in 2015 and 2014 primarily through increases in deferred tax liabilities related to Legacy Charter’s franchises, which are characterized as indefinite lived for book financial reporting purposes, as well as, to a lesser extent, through current federal and state income tax expense.

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interest. Net income attributable to noncontrolling interest for financial reporting purposes represents A/N’s portion of Charter Holdings’ net income based on its effective common unit ownership interest of approximately 10% and on the preferred dividend of $93 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. For more information, see Note 11 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements contained in “Item 1. Financial Statements.”

Net income (loss) attributable to Charter shareholders. Net income attributable to Charter shareholders was $3.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2016 and net loss attributable to Charter shareholders was $271 million and $183 million for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively, primarily as a result of the factors described above. On a pro forma basis, assuming the Transactions occurred as of January 1, 2015, net income attributable to Charter shareholders was $1.1 billion and $159 million for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Use of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow

We use certain measures that are not defined by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“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, consolidated net income (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 consolidated net income (loss) and net cash flows from operating activities, respectively, below.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as consolidated net income (loss) plus net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, stock compensation expense, loss on extinguishment of debt, (gain) loss on financial instruments, other (income) expense, net and other operating (income) expenses, such as merger and restructuring costs, other pension benefits, special charge


50



s 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. 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. These costs are evaluated 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 SEC). 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 $930 million, $322 million and $253 million for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively.

 
Years ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
Actual
Consolidated net income (loss)
$
3,745

 
$
(271
)
 
$
(183
)
Plus: Interest expense, net
2,499

 
1,306

 
911

Income tax (benefit) expense
(2,925
)
 
(60
)
 
236

Depreciation and amortization
6,907

 
2,125

 
2,102

Stock compensation expense
244

 
78

 
55

Loss on extinguishment of debt
111

 
128

 

(Gain) loss on derivative instruments, net
(89
)
 
4

 
7

Other, net
100

 
96

 
62

Adjusted EBITDA
$
10,592

 
$
3,406

 
$
3,190

 
 
 
 
 
 
Net cash flows from operating activities
$
8,041

 
$
2,359

 
$
2,359

Less: Purchases of property, plant and equipment
(5,325
)
 
(1,840
)
 
(2,221
)
Change in accrued expenses related to capital expenditures
603

 
28

 
33

Free cash flow
$
3,319

 
$
547

 
$
171


 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
Pro Forma
Consolidated net income
$
1,399

 
$
338

Plus: Interest expense, net
2,883

 
2,968

Income tax expense
498

 
102

Depreciation and amortization
9,555

 
9,348

Stock compensation expense
295

 
246

Loss on extinguishment of debt
111

 
128

(Gain) loss on financial instruments, net
(89
)
 
4

Other, net
(188
)
 
(130
)
Adjusted EBITDA
$
14,464

 
$
13,004




51



Liquidity and Capital Resources

Overview

We have significant amounts of debt.  The principal amount of our debt as of December 31, 2016 was $60.0 billion, consisting of $8.9 billion of credit facility debt, $37.7 billion of investment grade senior secured notes and $13.4 billion of high-yield senior unsecured notes. Our business requires significant cash to fund principal and interest payments on our debt. 

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 $3.3 billion, $547 million and $171 million for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. As of December 31, 2016, the amount available under our credit facilities was approximately $2.8 billion and cash on hand was approximately $1.5 billion. We expect to utilize free cash flow, cash on hand 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, and 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 cash needs.

We continue to evaluate the deployment of our cash on hand and anticipated future free cash flow including to invest in our business growth and other strategic opportunities, including mergers and acquisitions as well as stock repurchases and dividends. Our target leverage remains at 4 to 4.5 times, and up to 3.5 times at the Charter Operating level. In 2016, Charter purchased approximately 5.1 million shares of its Class A common stock for approximately $1.3 billion pursuant to authorizations by Charter’s board of directors of $3 billion. Accordingly, as of December 31, 2016 and provided Charter’s and Charter Operating's leverage ratios remain at target, management has authority to cause Charter to purchase an additional $1.7 billion of Charter’s Class A common stock without taking into account shares or units that may be purchased from A/N. Effective November 1, 2016, Charter's board of directors granted authority for a new $750 million of Class A common stock buybacks under the rolling six-month authority without taking into account any Class A common stock purchased prior to November 1. As a result, a portion of the $1.7 billion of authority is under the authority of management to approve up to $750 million for Class A common stock buybacks in any six-month period. Charter is not obligated to acquire any particular amount of common stock, and the timing of any purchases that may occur cannot be predicted and will largely depend on market conditions and other potential uses of capital. Purchases may include open market purchases or negotiated transactions. As possible acquisitions, swaps or dispositions arise, we actively review them against our objectives including, among other considerations, improving the operational efficiency, clustering, product development or technology capabilities 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 acquisitions, dispositions or system swaps, or that any such transactions will be material to our operations or results.