Although Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) had been able to maintain its subscriber numbers over the past year, unlike many other MSOs, who were thought to be victims of incipient “cord-cutting,” it hadn’t been able to manage much growth in that area. But Q4 was different, as Basic video subscriber numbers were up 8.2 percent to 3.3 million from a year earlier. Subs were also up on a sequential basis, rising 8.9 percent from Q3, thanks in large part by a 306,000-customer boost from acquisition of Bresnan Communications, which closed in early December, and gave Cablevision a new footprint in the western U.S.
While things continued looking up at the main cable business, the Newsday part of the company was looking murkier — and less successful.
In contrast with past quarters, when Cablevision broke out results for the Newsday segment, which includes the daily Long Island newspaper and smaller publications, it’s now lumped into a category simply labeled “other,” with News 12 Networks, MSG Varsity, Clearview Cinemas, Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation.
In any case, the “other” segment failed to capitalize on the wider ad recovery that had taken place elsewhere during the year. Net revenues decreased 7 percent to $123.8 million while operating losses increased 14.5 percent to a loss of $75.2 million. Still, Cablevision did point out where the blame for the segment’s poor performance came from: decreases at Newsday and Clearview Cinemas theater chain were offset in part by an increase in net advertising revenue at News 12 Networks local channels.