Cablevision reports Q3 dip but hefty sales

NEW YORK — Cablevision Systems, the largest cabler in the New York City area, reported a third-quarter loss but posted healthy sales of telephone and high-speed Internet services.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable giant lost $62.9 million, compared with a loss of $63.2 million, during the same period a year ago. The red ink this past quarter was partly due to $20.2 million in losses from investments and interest expenses of $186.9 million. During the same quarter last year, Cablevision saw a $6.3 million gain from investments and $172.4 million in interest expenses.

Cablevision’s third-quarter revenue increased to $1.24 billion, compared with $1.12 billion last year, thanks largely to sales of new services. Company added 81,000 high-speed Internet subscribers for a total of 1.6 million and increased phone customers to 601,000 from 478,000. Unlike some other companies that are losing basic cable subscribers, Cablevision added about 3,500 even though the third quarter is traditionally a weak one for the company. Cablevision has been fending off satellite competitors partly by offering a low-priced package of TV, high-speed Internet and phone services.

In the third quarter, company earned $379 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — a common metric in the cable industry.

Cablevision is facing new competition because phone giant Verizon has targeted much of its area to launch TV, high-speed Internet and phone services on a new fiber-optic network. Partly in response, Cablevision announced this week it is greatly increasing the speed of its broadband service.

The Dolan family, which owns a controlling interest in Cablevision, earlier this year announced plans to take the company private. But in October the family dropped those plans and requested the company’s board to pay a $3 billion one-time special dividend. Board said last week that it would begin taking steps toward approving that dividend.

In a conference call, CEO James Dolan declined to discuss the proposed dividend. But he said the company has no plans at this time to sell any of its assets. Some investors have been advocating that the company sell some of its cable networks. Cablevision also owns Madison Square Garden.

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