Mediacom Solid Despite Economy


Mediacom Communications reported solid fourth-quarter results on Friday (Feb. 26), exceeding guidance for free cash flow generation and adding to digital, high-speed data and telephone rolls despite a tough economy.

Mediacom ended the year with free cash flow of $103 million ($1.46 per share), soundly beating guidance of $1.30 per share. For the quarter, free cash flow was $20.2 million, well ahead of the $6.8 million generated in the same period in 2008.

Revenue rose 5% in the quarter to $372 million and an adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 8.4% to $138.5 million. Capital expenditures fell 4.4% to $69.5 million in the quarter and declined 18% for the year.

In the quarter, Mediacom lost about 25,000 basic video customers but added 13,000 digital, 13,000 high-speed data and 13,000 telephone subscribers.

Chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso told analysts during a call that Mediacom's performance was especially strong given the economy.

He renewed a call for reform regarding retransmission-consent laws and programming-cost increases.

Mediacom had a retransmission-consent spat earlier this year, with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which ended with a one-year deal reached on Jan. 7.

"With respect to retransmission consent, I think both the [Federal Communications Commission] and the federal government have a responsibility to either make sure the laws already in place work or, to the extent that the laws don't make any sense, to go out and change them," Commisso said. "I don't see that as a new way of regulating the business, but as addressing the changes that have taken place in the business over the last 20 years."