Shares of cable operators
traded in opposite directions Thursday after both delivered third-quarter results that fell short of expectations.
Bethpage, N.Y.-based Cablevision swung to a third-quarter profit of $27.1 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a year-ago loss of $79.3 million, or 27 cents a share. However, analysts were expecting a profit of 14 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
Cablevision said revenue jumped 15.4% from the year-ago quarter to $1.74 billion, thanks to increases of 10.1% in the telecommunications segment and 20.7% in the Rainbow Media division. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $1.68 billion.
The company also saw a net addition of 96,000 revenue generating units, or RGUs, with net additions in digital video, high-speed data and digital-phone subscribers offsetting a sequential decline of 20,000 basic-video subscribers.
Cablevision's decline in basic-video subscribers comes as no surprise though, as several of its cable rivals have also seen numbers dwindle. A week earlier,
said its basic-video subscriber count fell by 147,000 in the third quarter, while
said Wednesday it saw a sequential decline of 31,000 basic video subscribers.
Meanwhile, St. Louis-based Charter said its third-quarter loss shrank to $322 million, or 86 cents a share, from a year-ago loss of $407 million, or $1.10 a share. On average, analysts expected a loss of 67 cents a share.
Sales for the quarter rose 7.3% from a year earlier to $1.63 billion, coming up just short of analysts' average forecast of $1.64 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
The company saw a net addition of 205,400 RGUs. As with Cablevision, net additions in digital video, high-speed data and digital-phone subscribers countered a sequential decline of 25,900 basic video subscribers.
Charter, which has struggled with debt, recorded a net interest expense of $478 million, which completely wiped out the $208 million the company had in operating income. Still, shares were adding 3 cents, or 6.8%, to 46 cents a share. Cablevision, meanwhile, was losing 96 cents, or 5.7%, to $15.97.