Bye Bye RGU, Hello PSU, Says Time Warner Cable

New markets require new terminology. When the competitive local exchange business was roaring in the late 1990s and early 2000s, companies reported using a metric known as "voice grade equivalents," a metric they deemed a better measure of growth than "lines."

Likewise, cable operators began reporting "revenue generating units" when they ramped up new services ranging from voice and broadband Internet access to various types of digital video products.

So Time Warner Cable is using a new subscriber metric its calls a "primary service unit, which the company defines as the total of all discrete video, high speed data and voice subscriptions. A single household buying voice, broadband and video would repreent three PSUs.

The older RGU numbers are similar, but have included digital video or VOD services purchased in addition to basic cable. The new PSU metric presumably is intended to better reflect discrete numbers of voice, broadband and video accounts sold.

In the first quarter, for example, Time Warner Cable reported 26 million PSUs, but 34.8 million RGUs.
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