Young people can't afford to pay for cable TV. That's the assessment of Tom Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications.
Speaking in an earnings call this week, he said: "You look at the demographic change in behaviour and some of that is situational," he said. "People don't have houses, don't have big screen TVs, don't have money."
Charter, which is in the middle of executing a mega-merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, could soon be the second largest cable provider in the US. As such, its market approach will carry weight should it look to innovate in its offers.
"That doesn't mean that the big products aren't desirable," Rutledge said. "It just means they're expensive and that people's lifestyles are putting them in a situation where they don't have access to them. A lot of that is a function of the economic situation."
He also said that rolling out á la carte TV is largely prevented by the way media companies bundle channels — a state of affairs that he doesn't expect to change anytime soon.
"My sense is that it is not about to fall apart and we'll be having this conversation three years from now because I think there is nothing to incentivize anyone to pull it apart."