Dropped subscriptions hit cabler's bottom line

Big New York-area cabler Cablevision saw earnings for the September quarter fall, revealing on Friday a loss of 19,000 video subscribers from the previous three-month period partly offset by an uptick in voice and high-speed Internet biz.

Net income plunged to $40 million from $112 million. The company cited higher programming, sales and marketing costs as well as a $16 million hit from Hurricane Irene in the New York metro area in late summer.

Revenue rose 8% to about $1.7 billion, including contributions from Bresnan, a smaller cable operator acquired last December.

Excluding Bresnan, Cablevision said revenue would have been essentially flat.

Cablevision’s numbers emphasized what Time Warner Cable illustrated the day before: a slippage of video subs to competition from telco services like Verizon’s Fios and possibly inroads by new video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

The company had 3.626 million customers at the end of September. The number of video customers dipped 19,000 to 3.26 million from the quarter ended in June.

On the upside, the company added 17,000 new voice customers and 38,000 new high-speed data customers.

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