Earnings: Cablevision Widens Net Loss In Q1, Though Revenues Rise 10 Percent


Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) was already having a big news week with its proposed $496 million purchase of the Sundance Channel and its $650 million bid challenging News Corp (NYSE: NWS). for Long Island daily paper Newsday. But that won’t distract from the news that its net loss widened in Q1, coming in negative at $31 million compared to $26.2 million the year before. On the plus side, revenues were up 10 percent to $1.721 billion from $1.5 billion in Q107. Other results from the quarter included:

— Cable TV net revenue growth of 10.5 percent, driven gains in video, high-speed data, and voice customers.

— The company added 197,000 Revenue Generating Units including the addition of 2,000 basic video subscribers. Average monthly revenue per Basic Video Customer of $129.56.

— Rainbow net revenue growth was 15.8 percent.

Release | Webcast (10 AM EDT)

Conference call: More after the jump…

Nearly a half hour into the call, an analyst finally asked about the company’s proposed buy for Newsday. Jim Dolan, Cablevision’s CEO and president, said that the company hasn’t commented publicly on the matter and will continue to hold its tongue. The analyst then tried a different tack, asking whether Cablevision has considered entering the newspaper business, an area the company has no experience or any existing ties to its present business. Again, Dolan declined to answer.

Acquisition strategy: Another questioner lobbed a more general query, asking Dolan to elaborate on what he said was Cablevision’s “opportunistic” acquisition strategy. Both Dolan and CFO Mike Huseby offered a fairly bland answer about being interested in anything that has the potential of retaining or building shareholder value. Asked about various categories, such as live entertainment, again, Dolan and company declined to take any bait. “I can’t give you an answer on what directions future opportunities might occur,” said Dolan.

Wireless Broadband network coming: Earlier in the call, CFO Tom Rutledge also discussed plans to create a wireless broadband network in the New York-area, which would launch within the next two years.

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