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WideOpenWest, Inc. (NYSE:WOW)
Q3 2017 Earnings Conference Call
Nov. 14, 2017, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to WOW's third quarter 2017 earnings call. As a reminder, I want to advise everyone that this call is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Lucas Binder, WOW's Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Mr. Binder.

Lucas Binder -- Vice President, Corporate Development and Investor Relations

Thank you, Jessie. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining our third quarter 2017 earnings call. With me today is Stephen Cochran, WOW's Chief Executive Officer, who will be giving an update on our operating activities; Rich Fish, WOW's Chief Financial Officer, who will cover some strategic highlights; Cash Hagen, Chief Operating Officer; and Scott Russell, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, who will be here for Q&A.

Before we get started, I need to remind everyone that during our call, we will be making some forward-looking statements about our expected operating results, our business strategy, and other matters relating to our business. These forward-looking statements are made in reliance on the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Federal Securities Laws, and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual operating results, financial position, or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied in our forward-looking statements. We disclaim any obligation to update such forward-looking statements. For additional information concerning factors that could affect our financial results or cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to our filings with the SEC, including the risk factors section of our final perspectives filed with the SEC on May 25, 2017, and our quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC.

In addition, please note that in today's call and in our earnings release, we refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures. Such measures, including revenue, including acquisitions and disposition, residential subscription revenue, including acquisitions and dispositions, business services subscription revenue, including acquisitions and dispositions, adjusted EBITDA, transaction adjusted EBITDA, transaction adjusted capital expenditures, adjusted EPS, and free cash flow. While the company believes these non-GAAP financial measures will provide useful information for investors, the presentation of this information is not intended to be in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information presented in accordance with GAAP. These nine GAAP measures are reconciled in our earnings release to the most comparable GAAP measures. With that, I'll turn it over to Stephen to give an update on the business.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Thank you, Lucas. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us. For the third quarter of 2017, the key highlight is that we returned to positive growth in HSD subscribers, adding 2,400 HSD RGUs over the second quarter of 2017. Just as important, we saw our HSD RGU increase to $47.55, up 3.9% over the second quarter of '17, which is reflective of our continued approach to push higher speeds and improve our customer mix. RRGU trends improved on a sequential and year-over-year basis, despite the rate increase impact carrying to the beginning o the quarter, and the Hurricane Irma impact at the end of the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter grew 3% compared to the same period in 2016 on a transaction adjusted basis.

Let me highlight our three primary growth drivers -- Edge-Out, business services, and our core residential business that is led by our Internet-centric strategy. On the Edge-Out side, we returned to building our new Edge-Out Nodes in 2016, and improved our approach based on lessons learned from the prior projects. The results for the 2016 builds have exceeded both our past performance as well as our expectations. And we are equally as encouraged by the initial results from the 2017 Edge-Out builds.

As of September 30, 2017, we have added over 96,000 new homes passed since the beginning of 2016. The 16 Edge-Out Nodes represented approximately 40,400 homes passed. These homes now have an average of 414 days in the market and have achieved over 30% penetration. We continue to see adoption within the Edge-Out markets of all three products, with the vast majority taking the HSD service. The 2017 Edge-Out Nodes, through the first nine months of the year, represented 55,800 homes passed, an increase of more than 20,000 over the second quarter of 2017, with an average of 136 days in the market. The penetration of these homes, over 18%, is consistent with the penetration and attachment rate trends we experienced with our 2016 Edge-Outs, and gives further evidence that the Edge-Out strategy continues to be a compelling investment.

As a reminder, Edge-Outs are a unique opportunity for WOW because of the fact that we only cover a portion of the DMA in almost all of our markets, which provides a significant build opportunity in the future. Since restarting our Edge-Outs, we have added 22,700 residential and commercial customers. We're also seeing an average of 1.7 RGUs per customer added.

On the business services side, third quarter 2017 business service subscription revenue achieved a record of $29.6 million in revenue, which represents an increase of 13.4% from the transaction adjusted results of the third quarter of '16. We're encouraged by the continued success in this area of the business. Our commercial offerings are on par with the other network service providers in our markets. Our transport data services include wavelength, Ethernet, and MPLS services. WOW focuses on our metro networks to target the most profitable customers. These networks allow WOW to compete in the SMB midmarket and wholesale arenas across our geographic footprint.

Our Internet portfolio is one of the growth engines of our business service revenues, and is an entry point for most of our commercial customers. WOW's Internet is [inaudible] [00:05:47] competitive and performs well against our competitors as a result of the connectivity we have with other networks. Most customer traffic is never more than one hop away from its destination. This makes customer applications perform better as they move to cloud-based solutions in their businesses.

Once WOW brings on a customer to our Internet portfolio, we have a full complement of voice solutions designed to serve any customer need. The voice portfolio ranges from traditional business line services to hosted VoIP for customers with desktop phones, to fit trunking NPRI solutions for customers with PBX systems on site. WOW complements the voice portfolio with services like virtual voice or single number service that provide customers with control to route calls to any endpoint they choose to an easy-to-use customer portal.

When we think of our business service subscription business, we often focus on the SMB market, with the typical revenue of less than $1,500.00 per month. However, we continue to make in-roads with larger customers in our markets as a result of the product offerings I just described. These larger customers, often in government, healthcare, education, and other business service industries in both our Midwest and Southeast markets, are moving up the value chain and taking advanced services from WOW. We are selling wavelength, MPLS, Ethernet, PRI, Internet, and advanced voice services to a market that was previously untapped by WOW. So, we are encouraged by the growth and traction in our commercial business.

From a core residential standpoint, our total customer relationships in the third quarter of 2017 was flat from the second quarter, resulting in 776,400 customer relationships, or over 1.4 million RGUs. The rate increase we implemented in June had an effect on subscriber trends that carried over to July. As we look at the results throughout the third quarter, July was our toughest month. However, August was our strongest, which was associated with the back-to-school and summer seasonality, and we quick carried that momentum into September, despite Hurricane Irma, with another positive month of subscriber trends. HSD RGU net additions returned to positive, at 2,400 or 0.3% from the second quarter of '17, resulting in 730,000 HSD customers. Compared to the third quarter of '16, HSD RGUs are up 16,400, or 2.3%.

The overall RGU trend shows improvement for the third quarter of 2017 compared to the third quarter of '16 and the second quarter of '17. Additionally, third quarter 2017 churn was down slightly compared to the same period in '16. With the introduction of simplified packaging and pricing earlier in the year, highlighted by our 100-megabit for $39.99, or 500-megabit for $59.99, there has been a shift within our HSD customer base toward higher bandwidth packages, which has driven growth in HSDR too. The vast majority of our gross additions during the quarter took the 100-meg offering, with an increasing percentage taking 500-meg. Finally, we announced last week that WOW will bring one-gig Internet speeds to 95% of our footprint in the first quarter of 2018.

As we have stated in the past, we believe we are at the forefront when it comes to our HSD service offering, presenting better Internet for better value. We believe this investment and deployment of market leading speeds will continue to demonstrate how WOW can offer a compelling differentiated service in our markets ahead of the competition.

Financially speaking, I'll discuss high-level financial results for the third quarter. It's also worth noting that Hurricane Irma had an impact on subscriber trends in several of our Southeast markets, which also contributed to a $700,000.00 cash impact split between capital and operating expenses. Slight credits and bad debt impact have carried over into October as well. Excluding the financial results related to the divestiture of our Lawrence, Kansas system, which closed on January 12, 2017, and including the acquisition of New, Inc., which closed on September 9th of 2016, transaction adjusted EBITDA increase by 3% compared to the same period in 2016.

WOW's Internet-centric strategic focus has led to strong growth in Internet-related revenue, as HSD subscription revenue for the third quarter in the September 2017 increase by 13.4 million or 14.8% compared to the third quarter ended September 30, 2016 on a transaction-adjusted basis. One of the benefits of our HSD-centric strategy that we highlighted to many of you is that growing high margin HSD revenue has resulted in EBITDA margin expansion to 38.5%.

From a strategic standpoint, we've made great progress in our long-term strategic growth drivers, as both Edge-Outs and commercial services continue to perform well. We've made and we continue to make significant investments in our network infrastructure, and now have an industry-leading network asset from a technology standpoint. This enables us to provide the most compelling value proposition for data services in the markets we operate, as evidenced by our ability to offer 500-megabit data speeds in 95% of our network footprint for $59.99, and a one-gig offering that will be available in 95% of our network footprint by the first quarter of 2018.

With the network in position to support further growth, and having made available the most compelling data speed to value offerings in our footprint, the end of 2017 and 2018 is the appropriate time to shift our investment focus toward a customer care transformation to capitalize on our best-in-class network and product offerings. We believe we have a great opportunity to drive market share growth in our core business. Focusing on how we interact with our customers and enhancing the customer experience will be key to capturing this growth opportunity.

While the historic investments we've made in our network, Edge-Outs, and building our commercial service businesses have largely been capital in nature, the transformation in our customer experience will be funded from both capital expenditures, as well as operating SG&A expense. These investments will transform our customer experience and payoff, as it will enhance our ability to increase customer market share. We believe that with our current free cash flow profile, we'll have the ability to still deliver significant free cash flow by reallocating capital investments to fund these initiatives. Given the strength of our overall business, we're disappointed with where the stock is currently trading. While we did have some erosion in our video subscriber base, our strategy, focused on Edge-Outs, commercial, and HSD-centric growth, provides a hedge against these expected developments. Additionally, we believe our transaction with Verizon and our other successful efforts to de-lever the business and enhance free cash flow position the company well for the future.

Upon the closing of the Verizon transaction, our use of cash will continue to focus on investments that drive returns for shareholders, including investments to enhance growth in our core subscriber base through strong customer care, loyalty, and RPU. We look forward to providing further clarity on our outlook for 2018 as we end the year and finalize our planning process. With that, I'll turn it over to Rich for an update on our financial results.

Richard E. Fish, Jr. -- Chief Financial Officer

Good. Thanks, Stephen. As we've already touched on most of the financial highlights, I'll just a couple quick highlights on capex, the debt refinancing, and our Verizon transaction that we signed during the quarter. With regard to capex, total capital expenditures for the quarter was $72.3 million. The portion of capex that's associated with investments in both our Edge-Out as well as our business services market expansion, or what we, as you know, refer to as strategic capital investments, totaled $24.4 million, which is further broken out into the two components, $12.3 million in Edge-Out spend, and $12.1 million associated with business services, which is really largely attributable to the Verizon backhaul network construction.

Capital expenditures excluding the strategic capital investments was $47.9 million, or 16.1% of third quarter 2017 total revenue. On the redemption of the Senior Notes, as you know, during the quarter, we completed a refinancing of our term B loans, in which the term B loan facility was upsized by $230.5 million. Pricing on the loans was reduced by 25 basis points to LIBOR plus 325. And the capacity on the revolver was increased to $300 million. Combined with the proceeds from the IPO completed in the second quarter and a $180 million draw on the revolver, we redeemed all of our outstanding 10 and a quarter senior notes. And the annualized impact from just these transactions will result in a reduction of interest costs of over $60 million.

With respect to Verizon, on August 1st, we entered into a definitive agreement to sell a portion of the fiber network in our Chicago market to Verizon for $225 million in cash, which we now anticipate to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017. In addition, at the closing of the definitive agreement, the company and Verizon will enter into a new agreement to complete the build-out of the network in exchange for approximately $50 million, which represented the estimate remaining build-out costs to complete the network at the time we executed the agreement. That $50 million will be payable as such network elements will be completed over a schedule that we anticipate would be finally completed in the second half of 2018.

So, pulling really all this year's strategic activity together, the cumulative impact to free cash flow for the company from all the strategic transactions that we completed during 2017 or executed, i.e., the Lawrence divestiture, the IPO, the debt refinancing, as well as the Verizon transaction, will result in an increase to free cash flow of over $100 million on a pro forma basis.

And so, finally, with regard to liquidity and leverage, we ended the quarter with $36.4 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand. So, but senior secured net leverage as well as total leverage at the end of the third quarter was 5.4 times, now that we've taken out the Senior unsecured Notes. And on a pro forma basis, projecting forward after giving the effect to you the sale of our fiber asset to Verizon, we expect net leverage to be at approximately five times by the end of the year. So, that's all we had for prepared comments. And now, we'll open it up Q&A.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

At this time, I would like to remind everyone, in order to ask a question, please press star, then the number one on your telephone keypad. We will pause just a moment to compile the Q&A roster. Your first question comes from John Hodulik with UBS. Your line is open.

Batya Levi -- UBS -- Analyst

Great, thank you. This is Batya Levi for John. Starting off with the broadband side, can you provide a bit more color on the pacing of broadband ads after the quarter ends? Did you see any change in the competitive environment? Do you see maybe telco fiber expanding the footprint a bit more? And also, I'm sorry if I missed this, but did you mention how many broadband ads you had in the Edge-Out properties? And with about 30% penetration of the 2016 vintage, do you think that there is room for more growth in that footprint? Thank you.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Hey, great, thanks for the question. Circling up on a couple of those real quick. So, from a -- how the quarter played out, we lost HSDN customer in July, which was kind of a follow-on to the impact of the rate increase. We had a really strong month of growth in August and a nice month of growth in September that I think would have been stronger as well if we hadn't had some of the impact of Hurricane Irma. As it relates to the competitive environment, I mean, I know this has been a hot topic in the industry in general, and different people talked about different levels of competitiveness. It probably didn't look that much different to us, because I think that's what we've seen for a long time. We're competing, obviously, against Comcast and Charter and all they have going on. We are competing aggressively against AT&T U-verse across our entire footprint, with little bits of Frontier and other operators.

We primarily have seen AT&T from a fiber standpoint in one market, where it's a unique market, where we've got a small piece of incumbent operations in the Huntsville area. And they've come in with fiber to the home. And so, we've aggressively combatted that. Otherwise, we haven't seen a lot of difference from the phone provider, but we have seen a lot of response from the incumbents, being Charter and Comcast, and how they engage in having to deal with the impacts of that, which, like I said, is very similar to what we have over time. From an HSD customer standpoint, when you're talking about the breakout between Edge-Out and organic, from an Edge-Out standpoint, we added 4,800 customers in the quarter. 4,800 HSD customers in the quarter, and we lost 2,400 on the organic base. That's the net 2,400 positive increase, which is pretty significantly better than what we saw in the second quarter when we lost 5,400 on the organic base.

So, we're seeing improvements. Like I said, I think the majority of that was the rate increase flow-through that happens, primarily in the month of July, where you have a number of HSD customers who are still in bundles that are part of the rate increase process and dealing with the fallout that comes from that. As it relates to organic, we think we have a lot of opportunity in organic. Clearly, we have a much different balance sheet today than we had. And we think there's a lot of opportunity to go and drive that additional growth because of some of the investments that we need to make. And we've been there. We've done that before. We've had a lot of growth on our base before. We understand node by node what our opportunities are, and we're excited as a team to move forward and once again establish a growth trajectory on the organic base that would, when added together with the Edge-Out, will be solid growth each year.

Batya Levi -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay. Just one follow-up. As you see the incumbents competing a little bit more aggressively, maybe into October, do you see it in terms of maybe a pickup in churn, or lower inwards? How should I think about this?

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Yeah, honestly, I think you see a little bit of both. I think when there are more aggressive offers in the marketplace, you have new customer who have moved in, new customers who are making the buying decision for the first time, who are seeing clearly more marketing from them than they see from us. So, there's a buying decision that impacts connects. And then there's also the churn impact of that. So, that being said, our third quarter churn this year was lower than our third quarter churn last year. And like I said, this is one of those things that we've been competing aggressively for 15 years against these guys, and we see ups and downs of it all the time. While this is definitely in the upper half, this is by no means, hey, this is the most aggressive we've ever seen it. This is what we do every day, is compete pretty aggressively against big guys. And historically, we've done reasonably well against them.

Batya Levi -- UBS -- Analyst

Great. And maybe finally, do you see any significant change in churn when you bundle broadband with video versus stand-alone?

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

No, it's interesting, because that used to be the case. Historically, we had -- it kind of went by the number of products someone took defined the churn. So, three products was lower than two products was lower than one product. We're now at a point where our single product HSD customers have better churn than our two-product customers. Triple Play is still the lowest churn category, but HSD Only has replaced Double Play as a lower churn category for us.

Batya Levi -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay, got it. Thank you.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Sure.

Operator

Your next question comes from Amy Yong with Macquarie. Your line is open.

Amy Yong -- Macquarie Group Limited -- Analyst

Thanks, Steve. Maybe switching gears to business services. You mentioned a lot on, I guess, the market opportunity. Can you size the market opportunity in your footprint, and maybe some of the marketing or capex spend that's needed to grab some of the growth there? Thank you.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Sure. So, from a market opportunity, I think we've identified it, when we look across our market footprint, as a $1.3 billion market opportunity, which about 75% of that exists in five key markets for us, where those five markets -- Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Columbus, Pennelis, we were a later entrant into the commercial game. So, from that standpoint, when we look, we've got 3% to 5% market share in those markets compared to more of a high teens to 20% market share in the remaining 14 markets. And so, our goal and what we think the opportunity is, is to continue to drive from that low single digits up into double digits share, primarily in those markets, as well as continuing to take our piece of what is an expanding pie. I mean, the business opportunity continues to grow in our footprint.

And even in the markets where we're in the high teens to 20% market share, as that share grows, we continue to get our piece of it. So, we continue to see revenue growth across all of our markets, just with the greatest growth coming in the markets where we've got the lowest penetration. I mean, from a capex standpoint, I think we saw, whatever, 13+% growth year-over-year with capital that kind of specifically tied to commercial. We'll be on an annual basis somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 to $30 million dollars from an investment standpoint to kind of expand to those markets. Now clearly, there's a lot -- there are other pieces of capital as it relates to installations and the labor side of it. But from an expansion of our network standpoint, that's kind of the ballpark of the annual capex we tie to growing this commercial opportunity and kind of low to mid-teens.

Amy Yong -- Macquarie Group Limited -- Analyst

Great. And then maybe just one question for Rich. As you think about the deleveraging process, which is obviously happening pretty quickly, how should we thinking about this expense going forward as you continue to refinance some of your debt? Thank you.

Richard E. Fish, Jr. -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. We are currently on a pro forma basis. For the close of the Verizon transaction, we should be -- our total interest should be around $100 million. Our intention when we close the Verizon transaction is utilize proceeds to pay down the revolver draw that we made concurrent with the term loan B refinancing. So, we think total interest expenses on an annualized basis on a go forward basis should be around $100 million.

Operator

Your next question comes from Frank Louthan with Raymond James. Your line is open.

Frank Louthan -- Raymond James Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

Great, thank you. Can you characterize the cost per customer for home passed off the upgrade to the one gig, and how will that help on the commercial and also opportunities as well? And then can you give us a little more color on the storm-related impact? Is there any storm-related subscriber impact that you expect to bounce back, or lost revenue that we can think about that we might see return, or might have negatively impacted versus our estimates in the quarter? That'd be great. Thanks.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Sure. So, on the upgrades for the one gig, it's actually relatively low. I mean, across our entire footprint, the remaining investment is probably $1.5 million. So, if you want to do that over 2.5 million homes, or however you want to get there, it's a relatively small investment to complete that. So, we feel really good that this is more a reflection of all that's been done in the past compared to what needs to be done now, and the work that the organization has done to prepare our networks to be able to recoup bandwidth and put more bandwidth into DOCSIS 3.1 carriers. So, from that standpoint, that's kind of that level.

From a storm standpoint, we had about a $500,000.00 impact. The majority of that is really much more tied to personnel for over time, and the fixes because of the storm for customers that were out, or network issues, those kinds of things. I think the credits and the bad debt piece that will roll through, we're still working on, and we'll get that fairly shortly. I think from a customer standpoint, you definitely saw a loss of momentum, kind of where we were going. We would probably say that it was somewhere in the 500 to 1,000 customer impact, this is probably more in the 1,500 to 2,000 RGU impact for the quarter. And we will see -- will we see all that bounce back? Maybe some of it comes from connects going down. Some of it comes from customers that didn't have disconnecting. And so, we would hope that we'll get all that back. I think we definitely are seeing a nice positive first 45 days of the fourth quarter. And so, there's maybe some impact of that. But that was what we -- based on how we were trending through the quarter and through the month, what we believe we probably lost there.

Frank Louthan -- Raymond James Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay. And by that 1,500, does that mean sort of opportunity costs of customers you might have added, as well as customers that may have disconnected during the storm, or?

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Yeah, no, I think it's the combination of lost opportunity combined with some that was just delayed. And like I said, 1,500 to 2,000 RGUs, probably 500 to 1,000 customers.

Frank Louthan -- Raymond James Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

And in your experience, how much of those would you expect to -- the delay and so forth to show up a little late, or maybe still a bit of a balance in that and in Q4?

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Yeah, the only real good perspective I have, Frank, is we had Charleston last year that had a hurricane. It was much, much less impacting. And we saw a much shorter -- I mean, that was more of literally a week-and-a-half delay, where this one felt more like a three to almost four-week delay in some of it. So, we really haven't -- since our time of owning markets where hurricanes were a possibility -- really, we had Charleston last year, and we had Pennelis this year with a little bit of impact in some of the other markets. I think any of the other markets that were impacted, the bounce back happened within the month because it was really short duration. I think this is a bit of a first for us, so we're kind of gauging the impact, and we'll have better data as we move forward.

Frank Louthan -- Raymond James Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay, thanks very much.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Sure.

Operator

If you would like to ask a question, please press star, then the number one on your telephone keypad. The next question comes from James Ratcliffe with Evercore ISI. Your line is open.

James Ratcliffe -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Good evening. Thanks for taking the question -- two, if I could. I've got a question previously on broadband subscriber performance and the Edge-Out existing footprint. Can you talk a little bit about the year's subscriber performance in the Edge-Out footprint, and what sort of take rates you're seeing for video there versus your installed base? And secondly, I noticed the programming cost slowed quite a lot in 3Q. What was the driver behind that, and how should we be thinking about programming cost growth sort of on a per subscriber basis going forward?

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Sure. So, on the first question, on the Edge-Out, to just circle back to you, on the Edge-Out, it was around the -- oh, on the video take rate. Yeah, sorry. Yeah. So, on the video take rates, it's about 60%, which is higher than our existing sell-in, but somewhat in line with our overall footprint. So, we're having about 40% HSD only sell-in, and we get about 60% video take. And similarly, phone is slightly higher than what the base is. It's in line with what the base is, slightly higher than the take rate on the existing base. So, if you look at our existing base compared with Edge and sell-out, those look a lot alike. If you look at sell-in on existing base, that's where you see it much higher. You probably skew closer to 55%, 57% of sell-in that take HSD only.

James Ratcliffe -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

So, the sell-in rate in Edge-Out is above the selling rate on the existing footprint, but below the existing rate on the existing footprint.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Yeah. Pretty close to in line with the existing, but. And I think our hypothesis on that would be -- I think there's two things that contribute to that. One, when you're going and you're selling in an Edge-Out, you're replacing whatever that customer had. So, if a customer was a Double Play customer, a customer was a Triple Play customer, it's pretty likely that you're going in and just replacing whatever services those customers had. So, it makes sense. Additionally, the vast majority of sales that come in Edge-Out come through door-to-door. And door-to-door sales, people generally do a good job in upselling. And so, whether it's a combination of driving higher both video and phone penetration, they are able to continue to push up that mix.

James Ratcliffe -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Got it. And on programming cost?

Richard E. Fish, Jr. -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. On programming, really. the primary driver, further reduction -- or the programming cost is really just the change in the mix of our customer base on an overall basis. So, as video customers are lost, we're obviously experiencing video RG losses, which drives a direct correlation to a reduction in programming expenses.

James Ratcliffe -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

But I mean, just looking at them, second quarter costs were down about 5% year-on-year, and they're down about 8%. And growth percent was only, it looks like, about 4% or so. Is that sort of how we should be thinking about this going forward, or are we still looking at --

Richard E. Fish, Jr. -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. I mean, the programming is a little lumpy. Obviously, there's things that are subject to review on a continuous basis throughout the year. As we get more clarity in some of those issues in any given quarter, we can have a resolution of something that we might have thought we had a contingency associated with. We had a little bit of that this quarter, and that would be kind of what is making the -- or showing up as the additional change over and above volume.

James Ratcliffe -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

But we're still looking at sort of high single digits for sub increases going forward?

Richard E. Fish, Jr. -- Chief Financial Officer

Yup.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Yes. Unfortunately, so interesting -- this year, it's all going to be -- I mean, obviously, there's the built-in kickers for any contract. Every contract, when you do the renewal, there's a fairly large increase, and then there's escalators in there that they're only running anywhere from 5% to 10% based on the various contracts. This year, I guess we're fortunate that we don't have any of our large programmers with renewals. But clearly, there's a lot of retransmission consent agreements that are expiring this year. And smaller because of the number of channels associated with it; large as far as if you looked at any individual contract renewal, the requests on them are pretty dramatic. And honestly, we're fighting pretty aggressively on those. And I think as the industry continues to see, there will be retrains, disputes that will happen all the way up to and most likely be on the December 31st date that most of those contracts expire.

James Ratcliffe -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Sure.

Operator

There are no further questions. At this time, I turn the call back to the presenters.

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Great. Well, thanks, everybody. We appreciate your continued interest and look forward to talking to any of you if you have further questions that we can address. Take care and have a great week.

Operator

This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.

Duration: 36 minutes

Call participants:

Lucas Binder -- Vice President, Corporate Development and Investor Relations

Stephen Cochran -- Chief Executive Officer and Director

Richard E. Fish, Jr. -- Chief Financial Officer

Batya Levi -- UBS -- Analyst

Amy Yong -- Macquarie Group Limited -- Analyst

Frank Louthan -- Raymond James Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

James Ratcliffe -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

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