Rainbow DBS Spinoff Bumped to 4Q


Cablevision Systems Corp. CEO James Dolan said the planned spinoff of its Rainbow Media Entertainment Inc. division will be delayed, but it should happen sometime early in the fourth quarter.

The spinoff, which would cleave Cablevision into two units -- one, called Cablevision Systems, which would include the cable systems, its sports teams and venues and other regional programming interests;and the second, Rainbow Media Enterprises, including its three national programming networks (AMC, The Independent Film Channel and WE: Women’s Entertainment), Mag Rack, its Rainbow DBS Voom HD satellite-television offering and other national programming interests -- was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of the third quarter.

Dolan, speaking at the Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment conference in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, wouldn’t commit to a specific date but said the spinoff should occur “shortly, we believe, in the fourth quarter.”

Dolan also reassured attendees at the conference that Cablevision -- of which he will become chairman after the spinoff -- will not invest its money in ventures outside of its core cable area.

One of the criticisms of the company in the past has been its investment in Rainbow DBS, which some analysts believed was a drain on Cablevision’s finances.

Dolan pointed to Cablevision’s success in its three core businesses -- digital video, high-speed Internet and voice-over-Internet-protocol telephony. The MSO’s VoIP service currently has more than 100,000 customers, tops in the industry, he added.

“We’re not going to take any tangents here,” Dolan said at the conference. “You won’t see us investing the fruits of our labor in anything else other than these businesses.”