Upgrades drain Cox 1st-qtr. purse by 36%

$2 bil to be spent on digital transition

HOLLYWOOD — Cabler Cox Communications posted a 36% drop in first-quarter net income due to costs from system upgrades to allow the rollout of deluxe services.

The Atlanta-based company reported a profit of $686.6 million in the latest quarter, down from $1.07 billion a year ago. Cox made certain accounting adjustments in the period that boosted profit by $523.1 million. Revenue rose 22% to $947.9 million.

Channeling digital

Cox expects to spend $2 billion this year upgrading its system, and the cabler laid out 38% more in the first quarter for such expenses than in the same period last year. Like other cablers, the nation’s fifth-largest cable systems operator has been rolling out digital cable services that require upgraded cable lines and boxes.

Company said it expects upward of 14% sales growth this year, thanks in part to the new service offerings.

“Companywide, we now have 750,000 households that subscribe to at least two or three Cox products,” CEO Jim Robbins said.

“Our bundled customers are proving to be our most loyal, as the product retention rates are higher in bundled households vs. single-product homes,” he added.

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