Lowering content costs is a big part of Malone's agenda — but not the only thing. Always something of a futurist, the billionaire who began his career a half-century ago at Bell Telephone Labs believes that cable operators should band together to develop a Netflix-like service to hold on to their subscribers and better compete with Netflix and other emerging platforms.
Such cooperation was common two decades ago when big cable companies teamed up to help create and support fledgling ventures that are now mainstay channels, including CNN, BET and Discovery.
"His vision starts with a return to the collaboration that made the cable industry great," Moffett said.
But first, the herd must be thinned.
"Fewer rational players generally work together better than more," he told investors.
Malone also thinks that as more consumers use broadband for their entertainment needs, providing broadband service will become an increasingly important source of revenue and eventually could exceed sales of video packages. He has advocated charging fees to companies that eat up a lot of broadband as well as establishing tiers for consumers based on their data usage each month.
A cable pioneer and now the nation's largest individual landowner, the 72-year-old Malone built Tele-Communications into the largest and most powerful cable operator in the U.S. He sold TCI to AT&T Inc. for $54 billion in 1999.
He later became the largest shareholder of satellite broadcaster DirecTV but sold much of his stake three years ago.
In addition to its 27% stake in Charter, Malone's Liberty owns the Atlanta Braves baseball team and has a controlling interest in SiriusXM satellite radio and MacNeil-Lehrer Productions, which produces the PBS NewsHour. Liberty also holds 27% of Live Nation and 17% of the nation's largest book retailer, Barnes & Noble.
Malone explained his renewed interest at last week's investor conference.
"Old cable guys never die," he said. "They just become investors and philosophers."