Dolan bucks board

Cablevision pursues Voom talks with vigor

NEW YORK — Chuck Dolan, chairman of Cablevision, told a company board meeting in Florida on Monday that he’s talking to Sears, Roebuck & Co. about keeping the Voom satellite service alive, not shutting it down, as the board wants.

A Cablevision spokeswoman said the company would have no comment on what happened during the board meeting. But the Voomllc.com Web site, whose message late last week said, “This site is temporarily unavailable,” was back up with all of the bells and whistles of an ongoing operation.

The rep who answered the Voom number on the Web site said technicians are prepared to install the service at the customer’s convenience. Sears is one of the retailers that installs the satellite dish, antenna and digital HD box in people’s homes.

Shares of Cablevision’s stock rose 2.8% on Monday, apparently on the premise that Dolan is going to get his way on Voom and that coming up with the $1 billion it’s going to take Dolan to operate Voom over the next two years will probably lead to the sale of some, or all, of Cablevision’s lucrative cable systems in the New York area. These systems reach 2.9 million subscribers, many of them in Long Island and other upscale suburbs.

In addition to most of the mass-circulation basic-cable networks, Voom offers 39 high-definition channels, including all of the pay TV networks and their multiplex clones.

But Dolan’s son James, president and CEO of Cablevision, is adamant about doing away with the service because it lost $660 million last year and has signed up only about 46,000 subscribers. Voom’s two competitors are in a different solar system when it comes to subscriber count: DirecTV has 14 million, EchoStar’s Dish Network 11 million.

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