Cable companies are expected to face a double-edged sword as the economy worsens, the thinking goes: consumers will be staying home more, making cable services like VOD more valuable to them, yet at the same time, squeezed wallets might force as many consumers to cut back on additional offerings. In any case, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) posted a profit of $27.1 million ($0.09 per share) in Q3 compared to last year's $79.3 million net loss. Although it's doing better than last year, profits fell short of the $0.14 EPS analysts polled by Thomson Reuters (NASDAQ: TRIN) had expected, AP reported.
On the revenue front, the cable operator's net revenue grew 15.4 percent to $1.745 billion, which was attributed to positive activity in the telecommunications Services, Madison Square Garden businesses, as well as the addition of Newsday, which saw $73.5 million in revs, and the Sundance cable channel. The revenue numbers exceeded analysts' projections of $1.6 billion.
-- Cable Television net revenues rose 9.8 percent to $1.247 billion, while AOCF was up 13.6 percent to $489.7 million as operating income gained 32.9 percent to $281.2 million. Still, it looks like the economyor perhaps competition from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOSis starting to cut in to subscriptions, as basic video subs are down 19,100, or 0.6 percent, from June 2008; subs were also down 9,900 or 0.3 percent from September 2007.
-- While video subs slipped modestly, high-speed data customers were up 31,600 or 1.3 percent from June 2008 and 207,700 or 9.4 percent from September 2007
By David Kaplan