Telecommunications and entertainment giant

Cablevision Systems

(CVC)

posted narrower-than-expected third-quarter losses amid continued strength in its cable operations, its telephone subsidiary,

Lightpath

, and its

Rainbow Media Holdings

businesses.

The company, which also owns New York's

Madison Square Garden

, the New York Knicks basketball team and the New York Rangers hockey team, posted a third-quarter loss of $40.14 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with $178.1 million, or $1.17 in the year-ago period. Two analysts on

First Call/Thomson Financial

expected the company to lose 92 cents a share for the quarter.

Revenue was $1.04 billion, up from $902.3 million last year.

Cablevision said it expects to market its cable modem service to about 2 million homes by year-end and serve more than 200,000 subscribers. The company also affirmed its full-year 2000 pro forma cash flow and revenue guidance. Analysts, on average, expect the company to post a loss of $3.30 for 2000, compared with a loss of $5.12 in 1999.