Charter Has the Biggest Upside in Cable: CEO
Having gone through a period of poor investment and bankruptcy, Charter generates far less in earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization per home than its peers.
"There's $450 per home passed per year of EBITDA coming out of the best cable operators and Charter's at the low-end of that scale," Rutledge said. "So, the upside that we have is bigger than anyone else's."
Charter also doesn't need to close that gap completely to generate a lot of value, the former Cablevision executive said.
In getting there, Charter's strategy is to generate more revenue from each customer by selling them bundled video, voice and data services.
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"Through time, as we add customers you'll see that our customers are buying more services from us and that the revenue on average per customer is growing and ultimately the revenue for the whole business starts to grow," Rutledge said.
This strategy has meant making greater investment in upgrading infrastructure and improving data speeds and making the video offering all digital.
Rutledge characterized the investment as success based. "It's based on customer growth and it's based on better products with better revenue per customers that are going to have longer customer lives," he said.
While Rutledge expects Charter to grow quickly, he also believes the entire cable industry still has opportunity to expand. Rutledge expects data and voice subscriber additions to remain strong and video subscriptions to eventually return to growth across the industry after recent declines.
Moreover, when cable networks become all-digital, Rutledge expects companies to be able to offer "integrated voice communications products with video and data that work in ways that no other provider can make."