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Cablevision CEO on a Possible Sale and the Online Future of TV

James Dolan
Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Cablevision Systems CEO, James Dolan

James Dolan says the cable industry is living in a "bubble" and talks about his young children's Netflix habits.

Cablevision Systems CEO James Dolan in a rare interview said his family-controlled cable company could one day stop offering pay TV services and instead focus on its broadband service.

In the wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal, the usually media-shy Dolan also addressed questions about a possible sale of Cablevision and his relationship with his wife.

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Discussing the future of TV, the 58-year-old said that "there could come a day" when Cablevision stops offering TV channels and offers broadband as its primary service. Dolan argued that the cable industry was living in a "bubble" with its focus on TV packages that people must pay for as offered.

Dolan acknowledged that he watches TV only on rare occasions, according to the Journal. It quoted him as saying that he often watches with his young children, who prefer to watch Netflix via Cablevision's broadband service.

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The Journal also questioned Dolan about a recent increase in talk about cable consolidation, with Liberty Media chairman and cable pioneer John Malone and others saying pay TV operators need to get bigger to have more leverage in talks with content companies. Asked by the Journal if the Dolan family would still control the company in 20 years, the CEO said: "I would not go so far as to say that." He added: "We are going to continue to do the right things for the shareholders. That's why you can't rule out the possibility of a sale."

The Journal also asked Dolan about his wife, Kristin, a longtime cable executive who was recently promoted to oversee sales, marketing and product management at Cablevision. The promotion came shortly after the two announced they were separating on a trial basis. Dolan said that she was promoted for her work experience, adding: "We're figuring things out."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai