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Cablevision Posts Third-Quarter Profit, Loses Subs

James Dolan
Evan Agostini/Getty Images
Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan

UPDATED: The cable operator, led by CEO Jim Dolan, lost 37,000 pay TV subscribers in the latest period.

Cablevision Systems reported mixed third-quarter results on Friday. Its financials mostly improved, but the cable company continued to lose pay TV subscribers and also lost high-speed Internet customers.

Cablevision, controlled by the Dolan family and led by CEO Jim Dolan, recorded third-quarter earnings of $294.6 million, compared with a loss of $3.8 million in the year-ago period. Lower interest expense, lower losses on derivatives and lower debt extinguishment losses benefited the bottom line. Focusing only on continuing operations, earnings came in at $59.7 million, up from a profit of $3.7 million in the year-ago period.

The earnings figure exceeded Wall Street expectations. Third-quarter revenue rose 1.8 percent to $1.57 billion.

But Cablevision said that adjusted operating cash flow, another profitability metric, decreased 4 percent to $441.1 million, partly due to higher operating expenses, including programming costs.

Cablevision said it lost 37,000 video subscribers in the latest period to end September with a total pay TV user base of 2.83 million.

The company also lost broadband customers, down 13,000 in the quarter to 2.77 million. Broadband is a business that has typically been a key growth driver for cable firms.

Cablevision also recorded an 18,000 decline in its telephony subscriber base.

Said Dolan: "Cablevision continues to enhance the overall...experience for our customers with improved products and a superior level of service. At the same time, we have taken a number of steps to improve our financial performance and strengthen our balance sheet. We expect that the investments we are making in the business will yield results as we move forward."

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