Cablevision 1Q loss widens, but revenue rises 10 percent

The Associated Press
Thursday, May 8, 2008; 9:50 AM

NEW YORK -- Cablevision Systems Corp. reported a wider first-quarter deficit on Thursday as losses from derivative contracts outweighed a 10.1 percent gain in revenues.

Cablevision, a New York-area cable TV provider, lost $31.6 million, or 11 cents per share, in the three months ended March 31. It lost $26.3 million, or 9 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenues rose to $1.72 billion from $1.56 billion.

Operating income jumped 44 percent to $245.5 million, largely on gains at the company's core cable TV business as it signed up more customers for digital video, high-speed Internet and phone service.

The bottom line was affected, however, by $104.9 million in losses from financial derivative contracts, which compared with comparable gains in that category of $65.1 million in the year-ago period.

Cablevision announced Wednesday that it was buying the Sundance Channel, a cable network founded by Robert Redford, for $496 million. The channel will become part of Cablevision's Rainbow Media programming division, which also owns AMC, IFC and WE tv.

The company, which is based on Long Island and has about 3 million cable TV subscribers in the region, has also bid $650 million for Newsday, a newspaper owned by Tribune Co. and also based on Long Island.

Cablevision operates a local news cable channel on Long Island but doesn't have a background in the newspaper business and hasn't commented on its interest in Newsday.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which owns the New York Post tabloid, is also bidding for Newsday, as is New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman. On Wednesday Murdoch said he expected to seal a deal for Newsday within a week.

Cablevision shares rose 20 cents to $23.95 in morning trading Thursday. They are closer to the low end of their 52-week range of $20.68 to $39.75.

© 2008 The Associated Press