Cable television firm Matav Cable Systems (Nasdaq:MATV) reported a net loss of NIS 62.6 million for the third quarter, 56% more than the NIS 40 million loss posted for the second quarter.

Net loss for the third quarter last year was NIS 71.3 million.

For the first nine months of this year, net loss deepened to NIS 172.5 million, compared with a net loss of NIS 133.1 million for the parallel.

Revenue for the third quarter came to NIS 111 million, compared with NIS 113.5 million for the second quarter, and NIS 110.7 million for the third quarter of 2000.

Operating losses grew by 41% to came to NIS 36 million.

Operating costs for the third quarter rose 10% against the parallel to NIS 109 million, partly due to increased content costs as a result of tiering agreements with content services providers.

CEO Amit Levin predicted that a growing base of subscribers for digital TV will boost average revenue per user - ARPU, while content expenses are unlikely to substantially rise.

Management and general expenses decreased to NIS 11.8 million, compared with NIS 14.8 million in the parallel.

Financing expenses were largely steady at NIS 11.6 million, compared with NIS 11.9 million in the parallel.

Matav commenced an aggressive campaign for its digital service in the third quarter, which also involved buying digital converters to implement its policy, Levin noted.

To establish its digital platform, in previous quarters the firm made investments and acquired equipment. This increased amortization expenses in the third quarter to NIS 34.9 million, compared with NIS 28.1 million in the parallel.

Levin said that extensive investments in infrastructure and content are near completion. Thanks to these investments, Matav intends to increase its subscriber base, enrich its services range, and accordingly increase its ARPU, he added.

Matav estimates that the regulatory procedure for the full merger of the cable companies has reached an advanced stage.

As part of its long-term business strategy, in the third quarter Matav began selling tiering packages to subscribers. Over 100,000 subscribers have signed up for digital broadcasts.