The pain continues for cable companies as Cablevision (CVC) posted a steep third quarter loss as competitors turned up the pressure.
The Bethpage, N.Y. cable shop posted a net loss of $79.3 million or 27 cents a share. Those numbers compare with a loss of $59 million or 22 cents in the year-ago period. Analysts had been looking for a nickel loss, according to Yahoo Finance.
Sales for the third quarter ended in September were $1.51 billion, up from $1.38 billion last year. The top-line performance was below Wall Street's target of $1.54 billion.
A big area of concern among cable investors is the growing rate of customer losses as competing triple-play packages - TV, Net, calling services -- from phone companies lure users away.
Cablevision saw both a sequential and year-over-year increase in monthly subscriber defections. This so called churn rate jumped in basic video to 2.2% from 2% in the second quarter, digital video churn rose to 2.5% from 2.2% and Internet service customers fled at a 2.7% rate compared with 2.3% in the prior quarter.
Seen from another angle, new revenue generating units, a measure of how many different services Cablevision is selling its customers, grew at a tepid 1.7% over the second quarter level and 10% above the year-ago tally.
Looking ahead, Cablevision reaffirmed its target for 11% full-year sales growth, but cut its revenue generating unit additions to 800,000 from a prior goal of as much as 900,000 RGUs.
The news comes a day after
Time Warner Cable
reported surprisingly high customer losses in areas where competitors have rolled out services.
Strong promotion of high-definition programming by satellite broadcasters
along with the entry of phone companies like
in the video market has helped
lure customers away from cable players like
and Time Warner Cable.
Cablevision shares fell 70 cents to $25.81 in early trading Thursday.