An increase in the number of cable subscribers, coupled with a revival in advertising income in both its cable operations and Rainbow programming arm, helped Cablevision Systems increase first-quarter revenue to $1.75 billion, up 5.2 percent from the similar prior-year period.
The company added 97,900 revenue-generating units in the quarter, including a rare cable industry occurrence: an increase in basic subscribers – 900 of them. The rest of the RGU gain broke down as 12,000 digital cable subscriptions, 42,600 broadband connections and 42,300 VoIP additions. Revenue growth in the unit was boosted by an increase in rates.
Cable advertising revenue grew 35.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the first quarter of 2009. Telecommunications Services net revenue for the first quarter of 2010 rose 5.9 percent to $1.4 billion.
Cablevision groups its Lightpath business services arm in with its cable network operations in Telecommunications Services. Lightpath net revenue increased 6.1 percent to $68.1 million, driven primarily by an increase in revenue from Ethernet services offset in part by a slight increase in operating expenses to support the increase in Ethernet installations, the company said.
That was the only area where capital expenditures were up; Cablevision spent $20 million less on capex – $146 million, down from $168 million a year ago.
Cablevision ended up with a Q1 profit of $355.1 million, up from $292 million in the first quarter of 2009.