Updated from 9:32 a.m. EDT

Cablevision Systems ( CVC) set plans Thursday to roll back capital spending and sell noncore businesses in an effort to raise cash.

CEO Jim Dolan, addressing longstanding investor concerns about the company's ability to fund its operations, said Cablevision was ditching its plans for rapid deployment of advanced digital services in favor of what Dolan calls "a measured sort of growth." That includes cutting back staff, freezing senior management salaries and suspending cash bonuses, and closing 26 of the 43 stores in its The Wiz electronics retail chain.

The company also intends to sell its Clearview Cinemas theater chain, and sell or find a partner for its Northcoast Communications wireless telephone business.

Cablevision says its plan means that existing sources of funding will carry it through 2003, and it will achieve free cash flow from operations in 2004. Dolan noted a plan for cutting capital expenditures from about a billion dollars a year to $550 million to $650 million in 2003.

Earlier, the company reported improved revenue and cash flow for the second quarter ended June 30. The New York-based cable operator reported $1.1 billion in revenue, up 2% from the pro forma figure one year earlier. Adjusted operating cash flow -- excluding items such as depreciation, amortization, stock compensation and restructuring charges -- grew 22% to $289.7 million.

Cablevision reaffirmed guidance for the year except for targets related to its subscribers to basic cable service, which numbered about 3 million as of June 30. Instead of the previously forecast subscriber gain of between 0.5% and 1%, Cablevision now says its subscriber count will decline 1% to 1.5%. The downward revision, not completely unexpected, corresponds with an unprecedented industrywide trend of a shrinking cable subscriber base -- decline that, if discussed by analysts at all, was generally understood to occur later in the decade.

But more compelling to investors are Cablevision's promised cutbacks. Earlier this week, the company announced it was buying back the tracking stock of its Rainbow Media Group ( RMG) programming unit; outsiders assume the transaction is designed to help Cablevision shore up its finances, but the company hasn't commented on how the deal relates to a larger strategy.

In Thursday morning trading, Cablevision's shares were down nearly 8% to $7.22.

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