Revenue and cash flow at Cox Communications Inc., the
Atlanta-based MSO, increased by 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in the second
quarter ended June 30, fueled primarily by basic subscriber growth, the deployment of new
services and acquisitions.
Revenue for the second quarter was $509.9 million, up from
$455.5 million the previous year. Total cable revenue for the period was $477.3 million,
up 7 percent. The total number of subscribers during the period rose by 2.9 percent,
compared with the industry average of 1.7 percent, to 3.8 million customers.
The company also saw growth in its digital-cable service,
called Cox Digital TV, which has been launched in 10 different markets and has 144,116
customers. In the telephony segment, Cox Digital Telephone saw its revenue more than
triple to $20.4 million and its customers increase from 8,714 last year to 59,793 in the
most recent quarter.
Data revenue also tripled during the period, to $12.1
million from $4.6 million a year earlier. Subscribership to its Cox@Home high-speed
Internet service rose from 34,263 customers in the second quarter of 1998 to 112,0006
customers in the most recent quarter.
For the company, operating cash flow increased 29 percent
to $195.9 million during the quarterly period.
In the first six months of the year, revenue was $1
billion, a 13 percent increase from the same period last year. Cable revenue was up 9
percent to $949.8 million. Cash flow during the six-month period was up 11 percent, to
$384.4 million. However, cash-flow margins were down slightly in the period -- to 38.1
percent from 38.7 percent -- primarily because of increased costs from the launch and
development of data and telephony services.
Although growth in new services helped fuel revenue, Cox
has been on a bit of an acquisition binge in the past few months. It has spent about $11
billion since the beginning of the year.
The buying spree began in April with the acquisition of
Media General Inc. systems in Northern Virginia for $1.4 billion. That was followed by the
company's $4 billion purchase of TCA Cable TV Inc., and a swap of $2.8 billion in
AT&T Corp. stock the company owns for AT&T systems with about 495,000 subscribers.
The latest acquisition was announced last week -- the
$2.7 billion purchase of Multimedia Cablevision Inc. systems in Kansas, Oklahoma and North
Carolina with about 509,000 subscribers.
While the purchases were a bit pricey -- the Media
General acquisition was valued at $5,400 per subscriber, an industry record -- they
also propelled Cox to the No. 4 spot among the nation's largest cable systems, with
about 6 million subscribers.
"This size and scale will allow us to compete
successfully in the vast and rapidly growing communications marketplace, while also
maintaining the tight customer and community bonds that have made Cox the industry leader
in service for many years," Cox president and CEO Jim Robbins said in a prepared