More Gains At Cablevision


Cablevision Systems continued its seemingly never-ending string of strong quarters, adding 2,000 basic video subscribers in the first quarter and managing to maintain its leadership in voice, video and data additions despite bearing the brunt of fierce competition from Verizon Communications.

Cable net revenue for the period was up 10.5% to $1.2 billion and adjusted operating cash flow increased 13% to $467 million.

But perhaps more surprising is the Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable operator’s ability to consistently grow advanced services and basic subscribers, despite industry-leading penetration rates.

That fact was not lost on Sanford Bernstein cable and satellite analyst Craig Moffett, who said in a research report that Cablevision has shown that it is arguably the best operator in the nation.

“Despite all the headwinds of a weakening economy, a huge competitive overlap with Verizon’s FiOS, and already-high penetration of virtually every service, Cablevision once again has posted astonishingly strong growth,” Moffett wrote.

Verizon said in late April that it had added about 263,000 FiOs video customers in the first quarter, bringing its total video subscriber base to about 1.2 million.

On a conference call with analysts last Thursday, Cablevision chief operating officer Tom Rutledge said that Verizon FiOS currently passes about 1.3 million homes in Cablevision’s footprint, 1.1 million of which are capable of receiving video service from the telco.

“Their impact on us is still single-digit after two years of head-to-head marketing,” Rutledge said. “We have grown in all categories.”