Third time's a charm for cable subs in Ozark, Ala.?

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 10:36am
Mike Robuck

We've all heard of subscriber churn, but TV viewers in Ozark, Ala., are experiencing cable operator churn when faced with the prospect of their third cable operator provider in 10 months.

Last week, the Dothan Eagle reported that city officials in Ozark expected the cable operation there to be sold to Troy Cable. Knology bought the system, which also includes Troy, Ala., back in February of this year from Cobridge Communications. The $30 million deal with Cobridge also included a system in Fort Gordon, Ga.

At the time of the purchase from Cobridge, Knology said the two systems were contiguous with its existing operation and referred to the deal as a "tuck-in acquisition.”

Knology said that the combined operations represented 21,000 connections, $15 million in annualized revenues and $5.5 million annualized EBITDA. Knology funded the acquisitions with $10 million it had on hand and $20 million from a debt re-pricing transaction.

In October of last year, Troy/Ozark and Fort Gordon were two of the 36 systems that Cobridge bought from Charter Communications.

According to the Dothan Eagle, the trucks in Ozark still bear the Cobridge name, but the mayor there said discussions between the city and Troy Cable could take place soon.

For subscribers in Ozark, the salad days of cable competition were short-lived. Troy Cable started offering its services there last year, but if the deal goes through, it will be a one-horse cable town again.

The newspaper story said that sales reps from both Cobridge and Troy Cable went head-to-head and door-to-door earlier this summer, which included the Troy Cable sales staff telling customers of the sale of Cobridge to Knology, while the Cobridge salespeople assured potential customers of better prices.

The story also said the city would likely hold new discussion with Troy Cable if it does end up being the only cable operator in the area.

Neither Knology nor Troy Cable returned phone calls on the prospective sale, but Knology will host its second-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.



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