Charles Dolan

Sep 15, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Charles Dolan’s Cablevision Systems Corp. has never been the largest multiple system operator, but it has been one of the most important. With some 3 million customers tightly clustered around New York, New Jersey and Long Island, Cablevision claims title to some of the most coveted cable real estate in America.
Mr. Dolan founded the company in Cleveland in 1954, and in the early 1970s moved his interests to Long Island, N.Y. He was a founder of Home Box Office in 1970, later selling the nascent service to Time Inc. His company’s current ownership interests run the gamut from a collection of local news channels to Rainbow Media Holdings (American Movie Classics, WE, Independent Film Channel) to several of New York’s professional sports teams.
Mr. Dolan’s financial dealings in recent years have seen mixed results. His investments in The Wiz, a New York consumer electronics chain, didn’t pan out. Rainbow Media sold its most significant holding, the Bravo cable channel, to NBC last year for $1.25 billion to reduce Cablevision’s debt. Other holdings are on the block as well. Early this year, Mr. Dolan and Cablevision took a brief run at DirecTV before deciding instead to start a competing venture. Rainbow DBS launched its first satellite in July and plans to market services to the public this fall.