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Cablevision's Dolan says he plans talks on cable consolidation in New York market

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

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

Cablevision Systems chief executive James Dolan Wednesday told interviewers on CNBC that he is interested in talking with other cable companies about consolidating operations in the New York market.

"The concept that I put forward is essentially that New York operates as one cable operation," he said. Consolidation "would bring more to the consumer and make the businesses more valuable."

Asked if Cablevision needed to merge to compete, Dolan responded, "No."

The CNBC interview followed similar remarks by Dolan during a panel discussion Wednesday morning at the National Cable Telecommunications Association trade show in Chicago.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus, who also was on the panel, responded, "I'm not sure if I got asked out on a date or to get married."

"I think I'm proposing a commune," Dolan responded, according to the Journal.

In the CNBC interview, Dolan said that he had not seen Marcus in months but that he expected to pursue the dialogue.

"We're interested," he said. "They'd have to see the value in it, too. I'm sure I'll talk to them about the value of it, because I think it's there. I think we can prove it. We'll see what happens."

In response to a question in the panel discussion, Dolan said the consolidation he envisions also would include Comcast and other regional operators.

It was unclear precisely what form his proposed consolidation would take.

A Cablevision representative, asked for comment, referred to the CNBC video interview online.

Dolan's remarks come less than two weeks after Comcast abandoned a planned merger with Time Warner when federal regulators indicated they would block the deal.

Cablevision and Time Warner, with major operations in the New York City metropolitan area, have long been rumored as potential partners.

Cablevision's footprint includes Long Island, Westchester County and parts of New York City, while Time Warner covers most of the city and parts of the northern suburbs.

Shares of Bethpage-based Cablevision, which owns Newsday, rose 2.21 percent to close at $20.80.

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