As shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” gain even more popularity, the notion that the channel they call home could be part of a pure-play cable programming stock would certainly be attractive to a lot of investors. But Cablevision executives re-emphasized Thursday, as they have done in the past, that they have no intention of spinning off Rainbow Media, which includes AMC, We tv, IFC and Sundance.
“We very much like the free cash flow” at Rainbow, said Gregg Seibert, executive vice president at Cablevision, during a second quarter earnings call. “It fits in very well with the free cash flow at Cablevision overall.”
Cash flow was up 4% in the quarter at Rainbow to $91 million. Revenues were up 11% to $280 million.
Overall, revenues at Long Island-based Cablevision were up 6% to $1.8 billion. Operating profits rose 23% to $416.8 million.
Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan said advertising gains in the double-digit range at both the cable business and Rainbow helped boost the company in the quarter. Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, saw ad revenues decline and reported an overall revenue drop of 10% to $80 million.
When asked if he had any plans to re-brand some of Rainbow’s cable channels, similar to moves at Discovery with Discovery Kids becoming The Hub and Disney converting SoapNet to Disney Junior, CEO Josh Sapan said he believed a re-definition of the channels was already underway. He said the channels now offer more original scripted programming, such as the new conspiracy thriller Rubicon on AMC that debuted with two million viewers last Sunday. Even the lineup at We tv, which Sapan said was primarily a movie channel, is now 65% original programming.