Rainbow Media's cable channels continue to attract considerable attention
from Madison Avenue. The unit which includes AMC,
WE TV and IFC collectively saw a 20% bounce
in ad revenue in the fourth quarter, compared with the same quarter a year ago.
The Cablevision-owned unit which also houses Sundance Channel, News 12 and a
handful of other ventures, saw a gain on higher ad units sold at AMC
and better ratings at the women-themed network WE TV. All three channels
increased their subscriber base over the year ago period.
Affiliate revenue rose 7.6% though the programming division also recorded a 22%
increase in operating costs on increased spending on shows and marketing.
Net revenue at Rainbow grew 6.7% to $282 million for the fourth quarter,
beating consensus expectations of 3%, though earnings were below consensus
estimates, up 3.7% for the year at $69 million. Operating income grew to
$45.8 million in the period. Full year net revenue was up 6.5% to $1 billion at
Ad revenue at the local cable TV operation was $33 million for the final
quarter of the year, up slightly from the $28 million the company booked during
the same time last year.
Cablevision Systems Corp.'s recorded a total revenue increase of 5% to $2.1
billion in the fourth quarter, though Newsday revenue dragged down results with
a 15.7% decline in revenue at $90 million. For the full year 2009,
Cablevision's net revenue rose 7.5% to $7.7 billion. Cablevision
completed the spin-off of Madison Square
Garden earlier this year.
Bernstein Research saw the company's overall results in a positively. Senior
analyst Craig Moffet wrote in a note today, (Feb. 25), "They have
weathered the storm from Verizon FiOs with remarkable success; over the five
years since Verizon's first incursion into Cablevision's business, Cablevision
has grown its customer relationships by 273,000." Moffet added: "The
company is, in short, a machine."