Cablevision misses Street estimates, shares tank

Markets Reuters

By Liana B. Baker

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Cablevision Systems Wall Street

Cablevision shares fell more than 11 percent on the profit miss of 14 cents per share.

Cable companies have been losing video customers to phone companies such as Verizon Communications <VZ.N>, which offers FiOs TV, satellite providers as well Internet companies such as Netflix Inc <NFLX.O> and Hulu.

The New York cable operator said it lost 19,000 video subscribers in the third quarter. This was better than some deeper losses analysts were expecting. Analysts on average were expecting losses of 30,000 subscribers, according to StreetAccount data.

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"Cablevision's numbers are very weak," said Brean Murray analyst Todd Mitchell. "They are having trouble in their New York clusters."

Verizon competes with Cablevision in the greater New York area and in the same period it added 131,000 video customers. Earlier this month, Verizon said it expects to add 200,000 FiOS TV customers in the fourth-quarter.

Cablevision said its revenue took a hit of $16 million because of Hurricane Irene, a storm that affected the New York area in August.

One bright spot for Cablevision was its Internet additions. Analysts were expecting it to add 5,000 new Internet customers and it added 17,000 in the quarter.

Cablevision posted a profit of $39.3 million or 14 cents per share, down from $68.4 million, or 23 cents per share, a year earlier.

Adjusted for various charges, the company reported an EPS of 17 cents, which missed analysts' expectations of 31 cents per share.

Cablevision, which is controlled by the Dolan family, saw its total revenue increase 8 percent to $1.67 billion, which was in line with analysts' estimates, according to Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's shares fell 11.1 percent to $15.38 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman)

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