Cablevision Loses TV Subs, Beats Expectations in Fourth Quarter

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Jim Dolan, CEO of Cablevision

UPDATED: The company, controlled by the Dolan family, reported higher quarterly revenue, and its adjusted results swung to a profit.

Cablevision Systems on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter financials that exceeded analysts' expectations as it continued to lose pay TV subscribers.

The cable operator controlled by the Dolan family, posted quarterly earnings of $51.8 million, compared with $116.6 million in the year-ago period. The year-ago period included a payment from the Voom legal settlement, the benefits of asset sales and items related to Superstorm Sandy.

Excluding such special items, adjusted quarterly earnings from continuing operations of $46.5 million compared with a year-ago loss of $73.9 million.

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Revenue of $1.58 billion was up 4.5 percent compared with $1.56 billion in the year-ago period.

Cablevision lost 18,000 pay TV subscribers in the fourth quarter after a year-ago loss of 50,000. The latest drop wasn't as pronounced as Wall Street had expected. The company ended 2013 with 2.813 million video subscribers.

"Cablevision made substantial headway on a number of fronts in 2013 and generated stronger financial results in the fourth quarter," said Dolan. "We improved the quality of our network, increased the efficiency of our operations and strengthened the company's financial profile. Our focus on improving the customer experience resulted in the successful rollout of new and enhanced products as well as better service for our customers. We look forward to continuing this progress in 2014."

Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker said: "Fourth-quarter results beat all around."

Twitter: @georgszalai