Cablevision loses 14K video subscribers in Q4, but gains phone, Internet customers

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Fierce competition from rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ) saw  Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) lose 14,000 video subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2011, but the cable MSO managed to gain 31,000 voice and 20,000 high-speed Internet customers.

Cablevision counted 3.62 million total customers at the end of the fourth quarter, losing 11,000 subscribers since the end of Q3. Those results include subscribers it picked up through its acquisition of Bresnan Communications.

The rollout of Cablvision's network-based Optimum DVR appears to be helping it reduce capital spending. It spent $39.5 million on customer premise equipment in the fourth quarter, down about $18 million from the $57.56 million it spent set-tops, cable modems and other gear for customer homes in the fourth quarter of 2010.

A heated ad war that Cablevision and Verizon have waged in the last year has not had a significant impact on the penetration rate for Cablevision's triple-play products. Its video penetration rate at the end of 2011 was 58.2 percent, compared to 59.9 percent at the end of 2010. Its voice penetration rate increased from 41 percent at the end of 2010 to 42.2 percent at the end of last year, and its high-speed Internet penetration rate increased from 52.3 percent to 53.1 percent.

Cablevision generated average monthly revenue per unit of $154.10 in Q4, up 1.6 percent in the quarter. It saw net revenue climb 7.3 percent to $1.69 billion. Net income dropped to $60.5 million (22 cents per share), compared to $114 million (39 cents per share) in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge resigned in December to take the CEO post at Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR). Wall Street analysts will keep a close eye on Cablevision during the first quarter, with CEO Jim Dolan taking the helm at its cable operations.

For more:
- see the earnings release

Special Report: Sizing up the cable industry in Q4 2011

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