New subs drive Cablevision’s Q4 profits
During a conference call this morning, Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge attributed the company’s strong fourth-quarter and year-end 2007 revenues to the addition of high-speed data, telephony and cable subscribers, as well as a “healthy increase” of $4.20 in average revenue per subscriber.
Aside from Cablevision’s Rainbow and Madison Square Garden assets, the cable division generated $1.2 billion, or 9 percent year-over-year revenue growth, in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31.
Cablevision posted an 11 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit after earning $6.6 million, or 2 cents per share, compared with a loss of $23.9 million, or 8 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2006. The Bethpage, N.Y.-based company’s quarterly revenue increased to $1.8 billion, from $1.7 billion a year ago.
For the full-year 2007, consolidated net revenue increased 11.3 percent, to $6.5 billion, driven by the addition of 798,000 revenue-generating units (RGUs) in telecommunications services, combined with revenue growth from Rainbow and Madison Square Garden.
Rutledge said that for the full-year, cable spending was lowered by $165 million, which he partially attributed to lower spending on customer premises equipment (CPE).
While Comcast  has recently seen its basic subscriber numbers slip (story here ), Cablevision added 1,155 basic subscribers in the fourth quarter, although total basic subscriber numbers were close to 2006 numbers. Cablevision added 43,000 digital video customers, which was a 7.4 increase year-over-year and a 1.7 percent increase sequentially.
Rutledge said that Cablevision has a total of 2.6 million customers for its digital services, with one million, or almost 40 percent, of those subscribing to high-definition (HD) services.
“We have a great platform for digital services, and for transferring analog [channels] to digital,” he said.
Cablevision added 62,000 broadband customers, which was a 2.8 percent increase over the third quarter and 12 percent above the 2006 fourth-quarter numbers.
On the telephony side, Cablevision added 102,000 digital phone customers for a 6.8 percent increase over the third quarter and a 31.7 percent increase over last year’s fourth quarter.
Revenue per cable subscriber rose to $125.10, representing an 8.5 percent increase compared with the same quarter in 2006.
Cablevision’s Optimum Lightpath division saw its fourth-quarter revenue increase by 8.6 percent for revenue of $56 million.
“We’ve seen impressive Ethernet [services] revenue in the fourth quarter, with revenue up almost 80 percent compared with 2006,” Rutledge said.
Cablevision added 12 new Wi-Fi zones in its footprint last year, as well as 23 new HD channels and a Caller ID on TV service (story here ).
The company did not provide guidance for 2008, but Rutledge said that he does expect Cablevision to start offering increased broadband speeds to some of its customers by the end of the year by using some elements of DOCSIS 3.0.
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