Cablevision Trims Loss With Sales of Bundle

May 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision Systems Corp., the biggest cable-television company in the New York area, narrowed its first-quarter loss to $58.9 million as consumers snapped up its bundle of TV, high-speed Internet and telephone.

An increase in subscribers for those services helped increase revenue 16 percent to $1.4 billion, the Bethpage, New York-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Cablevision’s loss was 20 cents per share, compared with 31 cents a year ago, when the company reported a loss of $118.9 million.

Cablevision’s improved results reflect the benefits of offering the three-product bundle of services. Offering fast Internet and phone lines has helped Cablevision lure more basic TV subscribers, countering competition from satellite-TV companies. Phone giant Verizon Communications plans to begins competing with a phone-line based television product that has been introduced in several Cablevision markets.

“Just when we thought Cablevision’s cable business couldn’t get any better, it got … well, even better,” wrote Bernstein Research cable analyst Craig Moffett in a research note. “We’ve been positively surprised yet again.”

The results sent Cablevision’s shares up 4 percent in early trading Tuesday to $21.70.

Cablevision’s digital video subscriptions rose 8 percent, high-speed Internet grew 7 percent and telephone customers increased 18 percent.

The company’s Rainbow Media unit, which includes cable networks AMC, WE: Women’s Entertainment and IFC, reported a 3 percent increase in revenue to $206.3 million, propelled by advertising revenue growth and an increase in payments from cable and satellite operators.

The growth at Rainbow was offset by declines linked to the closure of two cable networks last year and expenses associated with the launch of two regional news channels.