Strong performance from its cable operations, cable
networks and telephony businesses helped to drive Cablevision Systems Corp.'s
first-quarter results beyond analysts' expectations.
The Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO reported consolidated net
revenue of $934 million for the period, up 18.9 percent, and consolidated adjusted
operating cash flow of $227 million, a 12.4 percent pro forma increase.
Cablevision reported a net loss of $238.6 million, or $1.57
per share, compared with a loss of $27.2 million (23 cents) a year earlier. Analysts had
expected a loss of $1.77 per share.
Despite the loss, Cablevision posted a healthy increase in
adjusted operating cash flow -- a benchmark of performance for cable companies -- of 11.8
percent during the period, to $208 million. Revenue during the quarter improved by 10.8
percent, to $491 million.
In commercial telephony, the company's Lightpath
subsidiary -- which provides service to business customers on Long Island, N.Y. --
reported revenue of $15.5 million, up 31.2 percent. Cash flow at Lightpath rose 38.5
percent, to $8.7 million, and the division grew access lines by 2,960 to a total of
Cablevision said it added nearly 5,900 cable-modem-service
customers during the first quarter, to 17,100, up 52 percent from year-end 1998.
Penetration in that segment rose from 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 1998 to 3.3
Pro forma revenue at Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. -- which
includes American Movie Classics, Bravo Networks, News 12 Networks and Cablevision's
50 percent interest in Fox Sports Net -- was $298.5 million, up 14.2 percent. Cash flow at
Rainbow was $28.2 million, up 1.9 percent from the previous year.
AMC's affiliated basic subscribers totaled 70 million,
a 9 percent increase from the year-earlier period, and Bravo's affiliated basic
subscribers totaled 39.6 million, up 23 percent from a year ago.
Cablevision attributed the increases to strong subscriber
growth, affiliate-fee increases and the continuing increase in advertising revenue on
Bravo. Advertising now makes up 30 percent of Bravo's revenue, compared with 19
percent in the first quarter of last year.
Basic subscribers rose by 2.8 percent during the period, to
3.4 million. Revenue per subscriber was $44.07 in the first quarter, compared with $42.74
at the end of last year.
Cablevision president and CEO James Dolan said in a
prepared statement that the company would continue to focus on its core markets.
"In an era of expanding competition, our core
businesses continue to display robust growth and substantial increases in customers,"
Dolan said in the statement. "Moving forward, we will remain focused on our core
telecommunications businesses as we continue the integration of our entertainment,
programming and retail assets -- especially in the New York market."