reported a year-over-year slide in second-quarter profit Thursday, but strong customer growth helped the company come in ahead of Wall Street's estimates.

The Bethpage, N.Y., cable giant said net income slid to $98.3 million, or 33 cents a share. Those numbers compare with a year-ago profit of $317.4 million, or $1.08 a share, although those results include a gain on the company's sale of its 50% interest in FSN New England in June 2007. Analysts, on average, expected Cablevision to post a profit of 13 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Sales for the quarter rose 9.2% from a year ago to $1.71 billion, although that figure was down slightly sequentially. Still, that was higher than the Street's forecast of $1.68 billion. Shares of Cablevision were rising $1.79, or 8.4%, to $23.04 in recent trading Thursday morning.

Cablevision said it added 260,000 revenue-generating units, or RGU, during the quarter, as the company saw significant customer additions in its basic video, digital video, Internet and voice businesses. While many industry observers expected Cablevision to lose basic video subscribers, the company added 7,000 customers.

Cablevision said its iO: Interactive Optimum digital video unit had 120,000 customer additions, an increase of 9.4% from a year ago and 4.5% sequentially. Optimum Online high-speed data customers were up 52,000, 10.5% from last year and 2.2% from the first quarter. Additionally, the company's Optimum Voice subscriber count surged 26.2% from last year, an addition of 81,000 customers.

"Subscriber increases across all of our consumer services, including basic video, continued to fuel our success in cable and ensured our industry-leading penetration rates for yet another quarter," CEO Jim Dolan said in a press release.

The company's Rainbow unit, which consists of television stations AMC, WE tv and IFC, saw net revenue for the second quarter increase 14.6% to $239.7 million. Madison Square Garden's second-quarter net revenue grew 9.2% to $213.8 million, the company said.

Cablevision's earnings report comes two days after the company announced that it had acquired 97% of Newsday Media Group through the formation of a new partnership with

Tribune Co.





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, which reported better-than-expected subscriber growth Wednesday, was lately trading up 3.5%.

Charter Communications

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, meanwhile, slid 2.2%.