Cable giant

Cablevision Systems

(CVC)

Monday reported higher revenues and operating cash flow in the first quarter, resulting in a much narrower loss than Wall Street had expected.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based company, whose cable TV systems serve more than 3.5 million subscribers in New York, Boston and Cleveland, said revenues were $1.05 billion vs. $934 million in the 1999 quarter. The net loss was 67 cents per diluted share, vs. a loss of $1.57 a share last year.

Analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

projected a loss of 94 cents per share.

Cablevision shares inched up 1/16 to 63 1/16 in early trading Monday. (Cablevision finished up 1/4, or 0.4%, at 63 1/4.)

For the quarter, Cablevision posted adjusted operating cash flow of $219.5 million, a 14% increase over 1999. This figure is operating profit before depreciation and amortization and excludes the effects of stock plan income or expense and year 2000 remediation expenses.

The New York-centric company -- which also owns through its

Rainbow Media

subsidiary

Madison Square Garden

, the

New York Rangers

and the

New York Knicks

, as well as New York's

Radio City Music Hall

-- said the first-quarter performance reflected continued strength from cable operations, as basic subscribers grew 2.4%.

Rainbow Media also owns cable networks

American Movie Classics

,

Bravo

and the New York sports channel

Madison Square Garden Network

, among others.

"The strong first-quarter results are solid evidence of the continuing health of our core businesses and the growth potential of our new revenue streams," said Cablevision President and Chief Executive Officer James Dolan in a statement.

The company also owns and operates

The Wiz

consumer electronics stores in 41 locations and operates

Clearview Cinemas

with 297 movie screens in the New York area.

Last week,

PaineWebber

cable analyst Thomas Eagan upgraded his rating on Cablevision to buy from accumulate, mostly because he thinks the company is less vulnerable than some other cable operators to losing subscribers to satellite television companies.