C’vision channels lessened losses

The New York-area cabler loss narrows

Cablevision Systems narrowed its quarterly loss as revenue increased 20% thanks to its national cable networks, AMC, IFC and WE: Women’s Entertainment.

The New York-area cabler, which also owns Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers, said rev increased to $1.2 billion in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30. Net losses narrowed to $63.2 million from $106.9 million in the same quarter last year.

The nation’s sixth-largest cable operator held its own against satellite competition, adding 850 basic video subscribers in the quarter, as well as an impressive number of subscribers to additional services such as digital video, high-speed data and digital telephone.

“Cablevision continues to enjoy the industry’s leading penetration rate for high-speed data and now holds the industry’s highest digital television penetration rate,” topper James Dolan said.

With systems concentrated in the wealthier areas around New York, Cablevision takes more revenue per subscriber, on average, than any other operator. Company increased its take 14% in the third quarter to $83.89 per month per household from $73.38 a year ago.

Analysts were concerned growth might be slowed by a $90 promotional offer Cablevision offered over the summer for video, Internet and phone service. But execs said the offer has increased the average revenue per subscriber and said they will extend it indefinitely.

Revenue at Cablevision’s Rainbow Media division, which includes AMC, IFC and WE, as well as regional Fox Sports networks, grew 58% to $239.5 million due to increased advertising and affiliate fees.

The national cable nets are being spun off into a separate company, Rainbow Media Enterprises, which will contain Clearview Cinemas and the money-losing Voom high-definition satellite TV service.

With 26,000 customers, Voom lost $75.3 million in the quarter on $5.9 million revenue.

Dolan told analysts in a conference call that he was hopeful the spinoff would be completed in the fourth quarter.

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