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Mixed third quarter at Cablevision

Wider net losses but 10% revenue gain

Cablevision reported Thursday a mixed bag of third-quarter results, including wider net losses and a downward revision to full-year guidance but also a 10% revenue gain and a surge of new digital subscribers.

The net loss for the period ended Sept. 30 grew to $79.3 million from $59.2 million, even as net revenue rose to $1.5 billion.

Competition from telcos and satellite companies and consumer wariness amid ominous macroeconomic conditions have crimped growth, execs acknowledged. About 16,000 basic video subscribers canceled their service during the quarter, a much higher number than analysts expected. At the same time, there were strong gains in digital areas, especially in phone service, which added 91,000 subs.

The Rainbow subsid, which operates cable channels AMC, IFC and WE as well as regional sports nets, posted stellar revenue growth of 17% to $221.8 million.

Cablevision is only the sixth-largest U.S. cabler but a dominant feature of the Gotham media landscape because of its strong presence in households in the tristate area and ownership of Madison Square Garden and other assets.

The Dolan family, which owns the company, has made numerous attempts to take it private, the latest of which was recently rebuffed by shareholders.

“We view this outcome as an affirmation of confidence from our shareholders,” chief exec James Dolan said Thursday about the latest vote.

While there were positives to point to and plenty of spinning by Cablevision, the company also announced lower full-year guidance for adjusted operating cash flow, from 10% to 9%. It also said the net addition of “revenue generating units,” a key metric for cable companies, would come in at 800,000, down from an earlier forecast of 825,000-900,000.

Wall Street dinged the company’s shares, sending them down about 1.5% to $26.13 on above-average volume.

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