Cablevision Narrows Loss on TV, Data, Phone Gains

Nov 8, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision Systems, the biggest cable provider in the New York area, said its third-quarter loss narrowed as it lured more television, high-speed data and telephone customers.

The net loss was $59.2 million in the quarter, down from $63 million a year ago, the company said Wednesday. Revenue rose 17 percent to $1.4 billion.

Cablevision executives on an earnings conference call declined to discuss a buyout offer proposed in October by the company’s founding Dolan family. Cablevision CEO James Dolan said there was nothing new to report on possible strategic alliances involving the company’s Rainbow Media assets, which include the cable networks AMC, WE and IFC.

“We consider them very important to the overall strategy,” Mr. Dolan said when asked whether the unit remains a core asset.

Cablevision said sales at AMC, IFC and WE were flat due to a revenue shift from the second to third quarter a year ago. Excluding that shift, revenue rose 4.6 percent and operating income was up 8.5 percent, with ad revenues increasing by 15 percent.

The company said it boosted its count of basic video subscribers for the 10th consecutive quarter and that it was seeing a small shift of satellite customers moving to cable.

Cablevision is known for having the highest concentration of customers in the areas it serves, and the best revenue per customer in the industry. An analyst on the conference call asked if that was due to the relatively affluent nature of Cablevision’s consumer base in the New York area.

Cablevision Chief Operating Officer Tom Rutledge said the company’s penetration in the Bronx, a borough that isn’t as wealthy as suburban Long Island, exceeded the national averages of the publicly traded cable companies.