Newsday write-down hampers Cablevision’s Q4 results
Cablevision said today that it posted a loss in the fourth quarter, due largely to the write-down of the value of its Newsday newspaper and a charge related to the shutdown of Voom HD Networks.
Despite the loss, there were some positive items in Cablevision’s fourth-quarter earnings, including a 7 percent increase in Cablevision’s cable division. Cable television fourth-quarter 2008 net revenues increased 7.4 percent to $1.26 billion, and AOCF rose 4.1 percent to $498.1 million, while operating income increased 10 percent to $293.5 million, each compared with the prior year period.
Cablevision said the increases in net revenues, AOCF and operating income were principally driven by the growth in digital video, high-speed data and voice customers, as well as higher rates reflected in fourth-quarter 2008 results.
After three years of competition with Verizon in its New York metropolitan footprint, Cablevision appears to be holding ground. While Cablevision lost 3,800 basic subscribers in the fourth quarter, analysts at Goldman Sachs had predicted a loss of 20,000 subscribers, according to Reuters.
Cablevision added 22,800 digital video customers in the fourth quarter – up 0.8 percent sequentially and up 208,500 subscribers, or 7.9 percent, from December 2007. High-speed data customers were up 28,200, or 1.2 percent, from September 2008 and up 173,200, or 7.6 percent, from December 2007. On the telephony side, customers were up 53,400, or 2.9 percent, sequentially and up 286,600, or 18 percent, year-over-year.
For the fourth quarter, Cablevision lost $321.4 million, or $1.11 per share, compared with a profit of $6.6 million, or 2 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The write-down related to Newsday was $402.4 million, while the charge for pulling the plug on Voom HD Networks was $41 million.
Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision said its revenue increased 11 percent to $2.05 billion, from $1.84 billion.
For the full year, Cablevision said its net revenue rose 9.4 percent to $5.17 billion, AOCF increased 11.3 percent to $2.036 billion and operating income increased 28 percent to $1.12 billion, compared with the prior year.
Cablevision’s full-year loss came to $227.6 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with a profit of $218.5 million, or 74 cents per share, a year ago.
"Cablevision delivered strong results for 2008,” said Cablevision President and CEO James Dolan. “Despite the economic downturn, the company reported full-year, double-digit increases in revenue and AOCF.
“The proceeds from our recent successful debt financings, our cash flow and the capacity we have under existing credit facilities have positioned us well from a near-term liquidity perspective.”