Cablevision Q3 Loss Narrows

Nov 9, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision Systems said Tuesday it posted a narrower loss in the third quarter, lifted by its bundled cable services, along with advertising and affiliate revenue gains at its national cable networks.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable operator, which has about 3 million subscribers, reported red ink of $63.2 million compared with a year-earlier loss of $107 million. Revenue rose 20 percent to $1.2 billion.

The company attributed the results to its bundled package of video, data and voice services, which continues to be a growth engine for Cablevision, as well as the affiliate-fee and advertising revenue generated at its cable networks AMC, WE: Women’s Entertainment and IFC.

At the core cable business, Cablevision added 850 basic cable subscribers at a time when the company usually loses customers thanks to its presence in several popular summer-resort areas, such as the Hamptons on Long Island, N.Y., and the New Jersey shore.

The number of high-speed data customers rose by nearly 80,000 to almost 1.3 million subscribers by the end of the quarter. Digital cable subscriptions rose by more than 171,000 to more than 1.3 million, while digital phone added 74,000 customers to hit almost 190,000.

The cable networks, meanwhile, reported a 22 percent increase in revenue to $130.2 million, driven by higher ratings, greater carriage and higher advertising revenue. The company’s regional sports networks also posted gains.

Cablevision’s fledgling satellite business Voom added only 1,000 customers from the second quarter to the third quarter, as the business suffered from a high rate of defections and as Voom officials chose to focus on attracting high-quality customers instead of simply rapid subscriber growth. The operation posted an operating loss of $75.3 million, versus a year-earlier figure of $29.4 million. Revenue was $5.9 million, versus a year-earlier figure of zero because the service had not yet launched.

The satellite operation and the three national cable networks are still set to be spun off later this year, despite ongoing negotiations with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said Chairman James Dolan. He did not provide additional details on where things presently stand.