A week after finally striking a deal with News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). that put Fox’s stations back on Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), the cable provider posted profit and revenue gains as basic video subscribers declined less than a percent. Meanwhile, the Newsday segment, which includes the daily Long Island newspaper and smaller publications, failed to capture any benefit from the wave of the advertising recovery.
Specifically, cable advertising revenue grew of 30.2 percent in Q3. In contrast, Newsday segment revenues dropped 4.3 percent to $76.5 million. Furthermore, Newsday’s adjusted cash flow slid 28.3 percent to $4 million while its operating loss increased by $900,000 to a loss of $1.7 million. Newsday’s troubles were attributed to a 7.6 percent fall in ad dollars.
Cable TV: Although the revenues performed nicely, the number of optimum digital video customers was essentially flat in Q3, slipping just 0.1 percent. This past year, Cablevision was able to maintain its basic video subs in the face of declines at its rival MSOs. But not this time out. While the prospect of subscribers “cutting the cord” is still fairly minimal, competition from Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) and other online streaming options are making it more of a reality. But that’s probably not the issue in Q3, as the economy continued to be tough on consumers. For the most part, Cablevision, the number five cable operator in the U.S. with about 3 million subs, is also experiencing aggressive competition in its northeast footprint from Verizon FiOS.
Rainbow: Cablevision’s collection of cable programming properties under Rainbow, which include AMC (home of the buzz-worthy Mad Men, which just wrapped up its season), IFC and the Sundance Channel, saw revenues rise by 12 percent to $291.4 million, AOCF rose 12.2% to $96.4 million, and operating income grew 18.1% to $63.0 million, all compared to the prior year period.