Cablevision Swings to First-Quarter Loss

James Dolan Headshot 2011
Evan Agostini/Getty Images

The cable operator, controlled by the Dolan family, added a few thousand subscribers, but lost 5,000 video customers.

Cablevision on Thursday reported lower first-quarter financials that missed Wall Street expectations and the loss of 5,000 video subscribers.

The cable operator reported a loss from continuing operations of $16.7 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $64.4 million and Wall Street expectations for a slight profit. It also announced $1.52 billion in revenue, a 0.8 percent decrease from $1.54 billion for the same quarter in 2012. The figure for the latest period was below analyst expectations of about $1.65 billion.

The Dolan family-controlled company also reported a nearly 27 percent drop from the previous year in operating cash flow and a 63 percent drop in operating income.

On the positive side, Cablevision's total amount of customers remained relatively stable as the company picked up about 5,200 net customers for a total of 3.235 billion.

In a statement, CEO James Dolan said that recent pricing moves and an improved advertising outlook would aid an improved cash flow position in the second quarter.

"?Cablevision started the year off delivering sequential growth in our customer relationship, high-speed data and voice subscriber metrics, all while continuing to recover from the impact of Superstorm Sandy," he said. "As we move through 2013, our ongoing efforts to enhance our customers’ experience with our products and services will continue, and we will remain focused on balancing these operational initiatives with our financial performance.”

On an earnings call with analysts on Thursday, the company said that it has spent $8 million Sandy, spent $7 million in legal costs, and also pointed to several new programming contracts including the NFL Network kicking in late last year. Analysts were told that programming costs would continue to see double-digit increases and that it was "impossible" to offset those costs with rate increases.

In the first 90 minutes of trading, investors punished Cablevision's stock, pushing it down more than four percent to under $15 a share.

Financials for the company have been trending downward over the last five quarters. Here's a look: