May 9, 2018 / 10:34 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Altice USA reports quarterly loss due to high programming costs

(Adds detail from earnings call)

By Sheila Dang and Muvija M

May 9 (Reuters) - U.S. cable TV provider Altice USA Inc on Wednesday posted a larger first-quarter loss than analysts had expected as programming costs jumped 6.4 percent from the previous year.

Altice Chief Financial Officer Charles Stewart said during a post-earnings conference call he expected programming expenses to keep rising, but was “fighting hard to contain this as much as possible.”

Shares of Altice fell 1.7 percent to $16.50 after the bell.

Net loss attributable to stockholders widened to $129 million, or 17 cents per share, from $76.4 million, or 12 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts had expected a loss of 12 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 1.2 percent to $2.33 billion as the company added more Suddenlink residential subscribers and advertising revenue grew by 5.1 percent.

The New York-based company added 14,000 Suddenlink residential subscribers in the first quarter, up from 12,000 in the year-ago period.

Altice Chief Executive Dexter Goei said the company had started installing its new fiber network into homes, and aimed to launch a commercial product in the third quarter.

The fiber network rollout, along with the expansion of its Altice One set-top box, will ramp up capital expenditures for the rest of the year, Stewart said during the call.

Cable TV companies are battling so-called cord-cutting as viewers drop cable packages and move to streaming services such as Netflix Inc, and Altice has been stepping up efforts to cushion the impact.

The company last year launched Altice One, a set-top box that combines traditional video, online streaming services and WiFi as well as other features.

The cable TV provider said on Wednesday it expected to complete in June its spinoff from European telecom and cable group Altice NV. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Richard Chang)

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