Basics Slide At Mediacom In Q3

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Basic-video customer rolls continued their downward slide in the third quarter at Mediacom Communications, but financial metrics remained strong for the mid-market cable operator.

Mediacom lost about 19,000 basic customers in the third quarter, its second straight period of losses (it lost about 15,000 basic subscribers in the second quarter). But revenue and cash flow growth kept up with its larger peers, clocking in at 3.1% and 4% respectively.

"We began the year with significant uncertainties as to whether the recession and financial crisis would have a meaningful impact on our business," Mediacom chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso said in a statement. "Even though our RGU additions softened considerably, I am pleased to report another quarter of solid financial performance in this protracted economic downturn."

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Despite the RGU fall-off, Mediacom said it is on pace to deliver $1.30 per share in free cash flow for the full year, nearly 10 times the amount generated in 2008. In addition to revenue of $363.4 million (up 3.1%) and adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization of $131.3 million (up 4%), Mediacom reported free cash flow of $20.3 million (30 cents per share), compared to a negative $10.6 million in the prior year. So far this year,

Mediacom has generated about $83 million in free cash flow, or about $1.15 per share.

For the period, Mediacom added 7,000 digital-cable customers, 11,000 high-speed Internet subscribers and 7,000 telephony customers.

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