Cablevision Systems reported an increase in first quarter revenue of 4.3 percent to $1.57 billion, compared to its Q1 a year ago; the company swung to a profit of $89 million, compared to a $16 million loss last year.
The company said that the key elements of its first quarter net revenue growth were rate increases and higher advertising revenue, partially offset by a decline in video customers.
The company lost 14,000 basic video customers. Gains in broadband and voice subscribership weren’t enough to offset the video losses – Cablevision lost a total of 2,000 customers.
Cablevision ended the quarter almost exactly where it was a year ago, with about 2.8 million video customers, and 3.1 million total customers. That’s also about where it was last quarter.
Cablevision added 14,000 new homes passed; its market isn’t growing much.
The video market has been saturated for years, and the broadband market is nearly so. It’s been years since cable operators could grow through market penetration. The story these days is market share (Cablevision is more exposed to competition from Verizon FiOS than other cable companies) and average revenue per unit (ARPU). By those measures, Cablevision did well during its first quarter.
The MSO reported its ARPU among all customers increased $8.42, or 6 percent, to $148.22, compared with the prior year period. The ARPU among Video Customers was $168.34. Cable advertising revenue was up 16.8 percent, compared with the prior year period.
For first quarter 2014, Lightpath, the company’s business services arm, saw net revenues increased 5.2 percent to $86.8 million, and operating income increased 45 percent to $17.5 million, each as compared with the prior year period. First quarter results primarily reflect an increase in revenue from Ethernet services, the company said.
Capital expenditures are notably lower in almost every category, though most notably in customer premise equipment. A year ago, Cablevision spent $83 million on CPE; in its 2014 Q1 just completed, that was down to $56 million. Overall spending on capex was down from $237 million in its first quarter a year ago to $189 million in its Q1 just completed.