Cablevision Systems reported a 5.6 percent increase in third-quarter revenue to $1.8 billion compared with the prior-year period, despite a slight net loss in subscribers and revenue-generating units.
Net income was $112 million, up from the $98 million reported in the third quarter a year ago.
The company's results were buoyed by a 30 percent increase in TV ad revenue in the cable sector (associated with political campaign ad spending), as well as growth in the Optimum Lightpath business services sector and the Rainbow Media operation.
The cable sector's net revenue was up 4.8 percent to $1.36 billion. The company lost 24,500 basic video customers (down 0.8 percent from June 2010) and 4,200 digital video subscribers (a 0.1 percent drop from June 2010, but still an increase from a year ago). Cablevision added 9,600 broadband subs and 9,300 VoIP subs.
All told, the company said its total number of RGUs slipped slightly, by 9,800, from the previous quarter, though that number is still up 263,200, or 2.5 percent, from September 2009.
For the third quarter, Optimum Lightpath net revenues increased 12.1 percent to $72.9 million. The improved results, the company said, were driven primarily by a 33.1 percent increase in revenue from Ethernet services, offset in part by higher operating expenses to support the increase in Ethernet installations.
Rainbow (AMC, WE tv, IFC, the Sundance Channel, News 12 Networks, etc.) saw revenue increase 12 percent to $291.4 million, driven by higher subscribership, increased advertising revenue, and higher pricing at AMC and WE tv.
Cablevision President and CEO James Dolan commented: "Cablevision continued to perform well in the third quarter, as the ongoing strength of our core businesses led to solid increases in both revenue and AOCF," he said. (AOCF is adjusted operating cash flow.)
"The company's cable operations generated a significant increase in advertising revenue of 30 percent, while continuing to enjoy industry-leading penetration rates. Meanwhile, Rainbow achieved double-digit revenue growth for the third quarter, thanks to impressive gains in both advertising and affiliate revenue. Also noteworthy this quarter, Cablevision generated an additional $225 million in free cash flow, bringing our year-to-date number to $656 million," concluded Dolan.