Voom, is no V(r)oom


Voom, Cablevision’s HDTV satellite TV venture despite cool branding is having some image problems. NY Newsday reports that “.. launched its Voom nationwide satellite TV service in October, one in five customers who tried it have dropped it.” The problems might escalate as the company switches to a bigger dish. The news comes courtesy of a 180-page document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission for the planned spinoff of Voom into a separate company.” As of April 23, Voom activated 8,000 customers and another 3,400 were awaiting installation.

bq. The need to install a different type of dish, 35 inches wide by 20 inches tall, stems from a new deal to lease satellite capacity from SES Americom, to supplement Voom’s own Rainbow 1 satellite and expand channel capacity. Voom will replace the current 20-inch round dishes for free but warns “we do not know how much customer resistance to the larger antenna size we will encounter.”

bq. $54.8-million operating loss in the first quarter and expects to require $482 million in funding this year, are fueling the skepticism of Wall Street analysts, who question whether it can compete against DirecTV and EchoStar Communications, which have 22 million subscribers combined.

The spin-off is planning to raise between $1.2 to $1.4 billion, but most on Wall Street are skeptical about that happening.

bq. JP Morgan Securities analyst Jason Bazinet warns that the spinoff, formally called Rainbow Media Enterprises, may have a hard time raising $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion it needs to carry it beyond next March 31.

Meanwhile in case anyone is interested, Cablevision’s top dogs, “Charles and James Dolan, received bonuses last year for the first time since 2000, pushing their combined salary and bonus packages to a total of $10.8 million, or more than triple the 2002 level, according to a new regulatory filing.”

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