Insight Holds Its Own


NEW YORK-Despite increasing pressure from overbuilders in two key markets, Insight Communications Inc. has held its own, reporting fourth-quarter revenue and cash-flow growth and moving ahead with new-services rollouts.

On a pro forma basis, Insight March 8 reported revenue growth for the year of 6.4 percent, to $660 million. Its cash flow rose 7.3 percent, to $301.6 million.

Insight COO and CFO Kim Kelly said 2001 guidance is for cash flow to rise to $328 million, a 9 percent increase.

Insight ended the year with 1.4 million subscribers, an increase of about 0.5 percent. The company also finished the year with 152,000 digital-cable customers and 52,000 high-speed-data subscribers.

Insight focused heavily on system rebuilds in 2000 and spent about $80 million on upgrades. At year-end, about 95 percent of Insight's systems were state of the art.

Those upgrades have helped Insight in its fight against overbuilders in Evansville, Ind. and Columbus, Ohio, where it competes against Sigecom LLC and Ameritech New Media, respectively.

In the nine months ended Sept. 30, Insight lost about 6,300 subscribers in Evansville to Sigecom, which offered a bundled package of voice, video and data services to customers. But in the fourth quarter-after Insight introduced an interactive digital-video service coupled with high-speed data-the company lost only 400 subscribers.

Those subscriber losses hurt, Kelly told analysts during a conference call, but Insight is making up ground in Evansville. The system enjoys 20 percent penetration for digital interactive services and plans to launch AT&T-branded telephony service later this year.