Careers at Spectrum
Charter Communications’ mission is to integrate the highest quality service with superior entertainment and communications products that consistently exceed the expectations of its growing customer base.
Howard Wood was the President and CEO of Cencom Cable Associates, based in St. Louis, Missouri. Jerry Kent was its Chief Financial Officer, and Barry Babcock was its Chief Operating Officer. The three men left the company after it was acquired by Crown Media in 1991 and its headquarters was moved to Dallas, Texas. In 1993 they decided to launch their own firm, Charter Communications.
The team was able to get Crown Media to make an early investment of several hundred thousand dollars in the new venture, for which their former employer got a 51% non-voting stake. Charter initially operated out of Cencom’s offices in St. Louis. It then searched the U.S. for cable properties to acquire, as well as related businesses such as video data and telecommunications systems.
The company announced its first round of acquisitions in 1994 -- ten cable systems in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, at a cost of almost $200 million. This enabled it to garner 100,000 subscribers in the southeastern United States. Charter’s objective at the time was to buy several small systems throughout the region and ultimately file an initial public offering.
In 1997 a major change occurred when Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen purchased Charter for $4.5 billion -- following in the footsteps of Bill Gates‘ $1 billion investment in Comcast. Both men had the goal of all people having computers at work and home and connecting through a global network. Cable was seen as the best way to fulfill this goal, by delivering high-speed services over the Internet.
In February 1999 Charter made numerous acquisitions, growing to 3.33 million subscribers and becoming the sixth-largest cable provider in the U.S. Later that year it accomplished its goal of going public and began trading on the NASDAQ. In 2015 it announced plans to merge with Time Warner Cable. In 2016 the action was completed, making Charter the third-largest pay TV firm in the U.S and being renamed to Spectrum.
Business model of Spectrum
Charter has a segmented market business model, with customer groups that have slightly different needs. The company targets its offerings at residential and commercial customers.
Charter offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, performance, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by providing a wide variety of options. Its TV service offers 200+ HD channels and 10,000+ On Demand choices (movies and shows). Charter also increases access by making its services usable by the handicapped. It offers versions of its websites that are hearing, speech, and vision-optimized. It also provides an audible TV guide and downloadable video app for customers with visual disabilities, and documentation in Braille and large print.
The company creates convenience by making life simpler for customers. It makes signing up for its service easy by not requiring credit checks or the signing of contracts, by offering a 30-day money-back guarantee, and by offering to pay up to $500 to help consumers exit their contracts with other providers. It also places no data caps on its Internet service.
The company has demonstrated strong performance through tangible results. Its Internet service’s speed starts at 60 Mbps, which it claims to be 20 times faster than DSL and fast enough to support all devices within the home.
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It is the second largest cable operator in the U.S. and claims to be the fastest-growing TV, Internet, and voice services provider. It is also the tenth largest telephone service provider. It serves 24 million residential and commercial customers in 41 states. Lastly, it has won many honors, including “Fastest ISP“ awards from PC World magazine, a CableFax TopOps award for its Day of Service (DOS) customer support team, and recognition as "Multi-System Operator of the Year" by CableWorld magazine.
Charter’s main channels are its website and direct sales team. The company promotes its offerings through its social media pages, direct response response marketing programs, and sponsorships.
Charter’s customer relationship is primarily of a personal assistance nature. Its employees install equipment and set up the service at customer’s locations, and it offers 24/7 technical support.
Charter’s business model entails delivering its communications services to its customers.
Charter maintains the Charter Partner Program, through which it offers to assist businesses that want to offer its communication services to their customers. There is no cost to join the program, and its benefits include the following:
- Dedicated local sales and support team
- Comprehensive marketing support, including advice on materials, messaging, and resources
- Detailed and personalized sales reports
- An easy-to-use portal that partners can use to schedule customer installations, redeem premiums, and generate reports
Charter’s main resources are its physical resources. Its infrastructure is comprised of a combination of fiber and coaxial cable plant with 12.8 million estimated passings. It also depends upon its human resources, who include the customer service employees that install equipment and provide support.
Charter has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant personal service and frequent service enhancements. Its biggest cost driver is operating costs, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support and sales/marketing, both fixed costs.
Charter has three revenue streams:
- Installation Revenues – Revenues it generates from the one-time fees it charges customers to install relevant equipment
- Subscription Revenues – Revenues it generates from the monthly fees paid by customers for subscriptions to its communications services
- Advertising Revenues – Revenues it generates from fees it collects from third parties for advertising their goods and services on its platforms
info: Thomas earned a B.A. in Economics at California University. He previously served as President of Charter. He also served as Chief Operating Officer of Cablevision and President of Time Warner Cable, and worked at American Television and Communications (ATC).
info: John earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Texas A&I University. He previously served as President of Cable and Communications at Cablevision and as EVP of Time Warner Cable, and was a founding executive of KBLCOM.
info: Jonathan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Otterbein University and an MBA at Wright State University. He previously served as Executive Vice President, Marketing at Cablevision and served in various leadership positions at AT&T.
info: Richard earned a B.S. in Business Administration - Finance at Olivet Nazarene University and an MBA and JD at Indiana University. He previously served as Senior Counsel and Assistant Secretary at CNH Global.
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