UPDATE 2-Cablevision posts 3rd-quarter loss, higher costs

Tue Nov 6, 2012 10:26am EST

* Q3 shr loss 1 cent vs year-ago profit 14 cents

* Q3 revenue $1.69 bln in line with Street view

* Shares fall 5.2 percent

* Loses 10,000 video customers vs Street view loss 9,000

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp reported a third-quarter loss on Tuesday due to higher costs and lost video customers, even as it gained Internet customers faster than analysts expected.

Cablevision, like bigger operators Comcast and Time Warner Cable, has been losing customers to rivals such as satellite television provider DirecTV and telephone operator Verizon Communications.

Cablevision lost 10,000 video customers in the quarter, compared with analysts' expectations for a loss of 9,000, but it added 28,000 Internet customers, ahead of the Wall Street target of 23,000, according to StreetAccount.

Cablevision shares fell 5.2 percent to $15.67 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Hudson Square research analyst Todd Rethemeier, who looked for the company to add video customers in the third quarter, said Cablevision was being hurt by the weak economy as well as competition.

"Until the economy recovers and the number of housing units starts to grow again it will be tough to see significant subscriber growth," Rethemeier said.

Also on Tuesday, DirecTV said it added 67,000 video subscribers, and another satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp reported 19,000 subscriber losses in the quarter.

Previously, Verizon had reported 136,000 FiOS Internet customer additions and 119,000 FiOS video customers.

At the end of the quarter, the U.S. Northeast, Cablevision's main operating region was hit by superstorm Sandy, which caused widespread flooding and power outages that disrupted cable and telephone services.

Cablevision said it was working to restore service to customers affected by Sandy, which hit the northeastern United States coastline on Oct. 29. Its biggest challenge is power outages suffered by Cablevision customers.

Rethemeier said it was too soon to say how much the storm would cost Cablevision, which promised to offer a credit to customers whose service was out after the storm.

The cable service provider posted a loss of $3.8 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with a profit of $39.3 million, or 14 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter. Included in the latest quarter was $61.1 million of debt refinancing costs.

Excluding unusual items, earnings per share were 23 cents, compared with Wall Street expectations for 16 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose to $1.69 billion from $1.67 billion, meeting Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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