Cablevision Systems Corp. will delay its planned rollout of digital services
until September, citing a need for more time to get its customer-service
infrastructure in place.
The MSO had said last year that it planned to begin its digital rollout in
December and January, stepping it up to full scale by April.
Investors apparently were not pleased, as they drove Cablevision stock down
more than 7 percent, or $6.25 per share, to $77 in afternoon trading
While some observers have speculated that Cablevision may be having
software-integration problems with its Sony Corp. digital set-tops, Cablevision
CEO James Dolan told analysts that was not the reason for the delay.
'We are technologically ready as per our original schedule,' Dolan said. 'The
delay is due to the service infrastructure inside of our cable operations.'
Dolan said Cablevision wants to be sure its representatives are fully able to
service, sell and explain the new services before they are deployed.
Although digital is being pushed back, gains in the MSO's high-speed-data
service helped to fuel revenue and cash-flow growth of 10 percent and 13
percent, respectively, in the fourth quarter. Cablevision added more than
100,000 new high-speed-data customers in the period, averaging 7,600 installs
That growth is expected to continue in 2001, with cash flow increasing 13
percent to 15 percent and revenue up 10 percent to 12 percent by