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Cablevision gains subscribers as revenue rises

Cablevision's Bethpage headquarters on Nov. 19, 2010.

Cablevision's Bethpage headquarters on Nov. 19, 2010. Photo Credit: Bloomberg News / Jin Lee

Cablevision Systems Corp. said Friday that it gained 5,000 subscribers in the second quarter, its biggest increase in more than two years.

The Bethpage-based telecommunication company's profit declined, weighed down by a higher income-tax expense. But the performance managed to top analysts' estimates, and revenue improved slightly as the company pulled in more money from cable customers.

Cablevision's total customer count rose to 3.117 million, as increases in high-speed Internet customers outweighed declines in video and voice customers.

In a conference call after the earnings release, chief executive James Dolan said Cablevision was likely to expand its product line aimed at Internet customers, who are "far and away" more valuable than video subscribers.

In the second quarter, Cablevision rolled out "cord-cutter" packages -- which include high-speed Internet and a digital antenna for over-the-air broadcasts, but not cable television -- to attract customers who want to access video via the Internet.

Dolan said he expects a gradual transition from the traditional cable bundle to widespread adoption of video via the Internet.

"I don't think that we're going to see a landslide of consumers move from one to the other," he said, forecasting that it will take a decade for 30 percent of the market to adopt Internet-delivered video.

For the three months ended June 30, the company, which owns Newsday, earned $75.6 million, or 27 cents per share. A year earlier it earned $94.2 million, or 35 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 25 cents per share.

Cablevision's income-tax expense increased to $78.6 million from $61.8 million in the prior-year period.

Revenue climbed to $1.65 billion from $1.63 billion, meeting Wall Street's expectations.

Revenue for cable -- which includes the company's Optimum-branded digital cable television, high-speed Internet and voice services as well as Optimum Wi-Fi -- edged up 1.8 percent to $1.48 billion.

In the last three years, the company has increased its Wi-Fi access points from less than 50,000 to more than 1.3 million and plans to add more in high-usage areas, chief operating officer Kristin Dolan said.

The average monthly cable revenue per customer rose 3.8 percent to $158.52 from $152.72 a year ago.

Shares of Cablevision fell 2.7 percent Friday to close at $25.82.

With Newsday staff


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