Cablevision CEO Talks Failed Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal, Future of Pay TV

Peter Yang

James Dolan compares the company's traditional video service to "eggs and milk in the convenience store."

Cablevision Systems CEO James Dolan on Monday discussed his take on the failed Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal and the company's continued focus on broadband and new video services.

"I think everybody was taken by surprise," Dolan said about the abandoned Comcast-TW Cable deal amid regulators' opposition. Everyone "is just trying to figure out" what they are going to do, and Cablevision is watching the space, with vice chairman Gregg Seibert helping the firm with that, he added.

Cablevision management on the call signaled it was focused on its existing business rather than doing deals, saying it was continuing to invest in the business.

Dolan once again emphasized the company's focus on broadband services and new video services, such as its recently launched "cord cutter" packages, saying they allow consumers, such as millennials, to "bypass the big [pay TV] bundle." That is part of management's focus on ways to "reimagine" Cablevision for changing consumer behavior, Dolan said, adding that these packages "more fully fills out our product offerings."

Dolan on Monday's call compared the company's traditional video services to "eggs and the milk in the convenience store," which you "have to have...but you don't make a lot of money on." Connectivity services are more like "the soda and chips aisle" in the convenience store, he added. The bigger focus lies on such higher-margin and differentiating services, he said.

Cablevision's first-quarter earnings of $44.6 million were down from $89.8 million. The company reported a loss of 28,000 video subscribers. In the year-ago quarter, Cablevision had lost 14,000 video customers.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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