Cox Communications Inc. reported its "strongest sales
yet of our advanced communications services" during the third quarter ending Sept.
30, the MSO said last Wednesday.
Cox's third-quarter revenue was $526.6 million, up 14
percent over the 1998 third-quarter figure. Operating cash flow increased 10 percent to
The earnings results were in line with expectations, SG
Cowen Securities Corp. analyst Gary Farber wrote last Thursday morning, restating a
"buy" rating for the company's stock. Farber cited Cox's double-digit cash-flow
growth, strong customer service, solid subscriber growth and plant upgrades that allow the
MSO to offer a bundled package of video, voice and data.
Basic-cable subscribers numbered 3.8 million at the end of
the third quarter, excluding recently acquired customers from Cox's acquisition of TCA
Cable TV Inc., marking a 2.8 percent internal increase over last year.
As of Sept. 30, "Cox Digital TV" had 201,752
customers, and the digital-video service passed nearly 4 million homes.
Cox had 140,474 Cox@Home high-speed-data customers, out of
3.463 million data-ready homes passed.
The MSO's residential phone customers numbered 80,952 at
the end of September, out of 1.027 million telephone-ready homes. Cox saw growth in
telephone revenue on both the residential and commercial sides of the business, the
"We have been successful in the initial deployment of
our digital-video, high-speed Internet and digital-telephone services in our major
markets," Cox president Jim Robbins said in a press release, "and we have now
begun expanding them into our midsized markets. In all of these Cox markets, we are
experiencing exciting customer acceptance of our full-service slate of broadband services.
Currently, Cox customers have purchased more than 423,000 new-service revenue-generating
units, putting us on track to exceed our expectations for 1999."
Programming costs rose 12 percent for the quarter, and
plant-operations expenses increased 10 percent. Marketing costs were up 24 percent due to
the effort to roll out the new services.
The MSO reported a 22 percent rise in pay-per-view revenue
over the year-earlier quarter, due to an increase in digital PPV revenues and the Oscar De
La Hoya-Felix Trinidad boxing match.
Cox's stock price ticked up about 5 percent to $44.38 at
midday last Thursday.