You can tell that an earnings report is loaded with bad news when it starts off the way Charter Communications’ 2Q release did this morning — discussing how much progress the company is making on strategic initiatives instead of with the numbers that everyone wants to see. Once you pass the puffery, you’ll find that the struggling cable operator reported a net loss of $107M vs an $81M loss in the same period last year on revenues of $1.79B, up 2.2%. The earnings loss at 98 cents a share was a big miss from the 19 cent profit that analysts expected. They also thought Charter would end up with $1.81M in revenue. Investors won’t find any relief in the subscription numbers. Charter, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in late 2009, had 4.17M pay TV customers at the end of June, down 5% vs this time last year. When you throw in other businesses including phone and broadband, the number of customer relationships was down 2% to 5.2M. CEO Mike Lovett talked up Charter’s investment in high-capacity broadband, which should be available to all its customers by year end, and in business services. The outlays are “setting us up for long-term success,” Lovett said. Charter shares are down 1.5% in mid-day trading.

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