Voom Shutdown To Cost Cablevision

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Cablevision Systems expects to incur between $45 million and $65 million of impairment charges related to the termination of its Voom HD networks business, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing Wednesday.


The cable company last week announced that it would cease the U.S. domestic offering of Voom's suite of 15 high-definition channels, which include Monsters HD and Kung Fu HD. 


The charges are related to "the impairment of certain contractual programming rights, property, plant and equipment and other miscellaneous assets," Cablevision said in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Those include cash expenditures of between $25 million and $27 million related to existing contractual commitments, which are primarily programming related, according to the filing. 


Cablevision said the Voom-related charges are expected to be reflected in its fourth quarter 2008 earnings. Except for the cash payments, the company said the impairment charges aren't expected to result in any "material" future cash expenditures.


Previously, the Voom 15-pack had been available in the U.S. only on Cablevision's own systems and satellite provider Dish Network. 


In May Dish dropped the channels, prompting Voom to file a lawsuit seeking $1 billion in damages for what it claimed was Dish’s violation of a 15-year carriage deal. Dish has denied the allegations. 


In a memo to employees last week, Josh Sapan, CEO of Cablevision's Rainbow Media Holdings, cited the dispute with Dish as one of the reasons for disbanding Voom HD.


“Unfortunately, as we analyzed the opportunities and challenges in the current environment and the lawsuit, it became clear that we can no longer operate Voom domestically,” he wrote.

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