Suddenlink Communications, the nation’s eighth-largest MSO, posted a 7 percent pro forma increase in its third-quarter revenues compared with the same quarter a year ago.
Suddenlink, a subsidiary of Cequel Communications, said revenue for the first ninth months of this year were $1.17 billion, an increase of 8 percent over the same period a year ago. Suddenlink said its third-quarter revenue spike was tempered somewhat by lower ad sales, which decreased 16.6 percent due to the lack of political advertising this year and a drop in automobile ads.
The company’s revenue-generating units (RGUs) increased 58,600 for the third quarter and 178,300 year-over-year for a 6.9 percent annual gain. Total average monthly revenue per basic video customer was $103.80, a pro forma increase of 8.7 percent year-over-year.
Video revenues increased 3 percent thanks to customer growth in digital video and advanced video services, as well as basic video rate increases, offset in part by a lower number of basic customers.
Suddenlink lost approximately 8,200 basic customers during the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a pro forma increase of 4,500 basic customers during the three months in the same quarter a year ago. Year-over-year, the cable operator lost 26,200 basic customers.
Digital video customers increased by 42,100 over the previous 12 months and grew by 16,300 during the recently completed third quarter, compared with an addition of 18,900 during the same period in the prior year.
High-speed data revenues increased 8.9 percent, mainly due to an increase of 70,300 residential high-speed data customers over the last 12 months and growth in commercial high-speed data services to small- and medium-size businesses. Residential high-speed data customers grew by 24,200 during the third quarter, compared with a gain of 29,000 a year ago.
On the telephone side, revenue increased 40 percent, primarily due to an increase of 92,100 residential telephone customers over the last 12 months. Residential telephone customers grew by 26,300 during the quarter, versus a gain of 24,000 in the year-ago quarter.
Suddenlink cited higher programming costs, increased broadcast retransmission fees and increased telephone service costs as the primary culprits in a 5.5 percent increase in operating and expense costs.
“We are very pleased with our third-quarter results, in particular the continued growth we have achieved in our digital television, Internet and phone services,” said Cequel Holdings’ Chairman and CEO Jerry Kent. “We remain in outstanding financial condition and believe the significant improvements we’ve made in customer service have been key to our overall success, despite a challenging economic environment.”
In the fourth quarter, Suddenlink began the first phase of its bandwidth investment plan. Over the next three years, this investment in the company’s existing network will provide additional capacity to launch video-on-demand services into new areas, provide capacity for additional high-definition channels and increase Internet speeds for the company’s customers, according to Suddenlink.
In August, Suddenlink launched a DOCSIS 3.0 service in several of its Texas markets.
Suddenlink expects full-year 2009 capital expenditures to be approximately $250 million, including approximately $35 million related to the bandwidth investment plan.