Cablevision Begins Shutting Down Voom

Apr 8, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision Systems Corp. on Friday said it has begun shutting down its languishing satellite service Voom and is informing its customers it will stop the service April 30.

The announcement, made in a filing submitted Friday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, theoretically marks the final chapter of a saga that has pit members of Cablevision’s founding family against each other.

Chairman Charles Dolan lobbied hard to keep Voom alive, going so far as removing certain board members opposed to the service. Mr. Dolan’s son CEO James Dolan, however, pushed equally hard to close down the service. The disagreement reportedly has created a fissure within the Dolan family.

According to the filing, Cablevision’s board met Thursday and confirmed that per a previous agreement between the company and Charles Dolan, the company would begin unwinding Voom if Mr. Dolan was unable to come up with a financing plan for Voom by March 31. That deadline came and went with no word from Cablevision until Friday’s filing.

The company said in the filing that it has begun the process of shutting down Voom, but it did not provide details of what steps it is taking beyond saying that all expenditures related to the business are being funded by the company.

Already, Cablevision has entered into a deal with EchoStar Communications to sell Voom’s lone satellite. Charles Dolan had lobbied the Federal Communications Commission to block the sale, but most analysts believe such an action is unlikely.

As far as the 21 high-definition channels that were the foundation of the Voom service go, Cablevision’s board directed the company to fold those channels with the company’s other national cable networks AMC, IFC and WE: Women’s Entertainment for oversight and affiliate sales.