By: RACHEL METZ
Cablevision Systems Corp. said Thursday it recorded a profit in the first quarter, helped by growth in its core cable TV operations and the inclusion of revenue from the Long Island-based newspaper Newsday.
Cablevision also said it will consider spinning off its Madison Square Garden unit, which includes the well-known New York sports venue and the NBA’s New York Knicks.
The Bethpage, N.Y.-based company’s shares shot up $2.22, or 12 percent, to $20.55 in morning trading Thursday.
Cablevision said it earned $20.2 million, or 7 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 31, compared with a loss of $31.6 million, or 11 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 15 cents per share.
Revenue rose 10 percent to $1.9 billion, meeting analysts’ expectations. The figure includes $83.4 million in revenue from the July purchase of Newsday from Tribune Co. for $650 million.
Cablevision said revenue from its cable TV, high-speed Internet and phone businesses rose nearly 6 percent to $1.33 billion.
It lost 23,100 basic cable TV subscribers, or 0.7 percent, from the year-ago quarter, but added 177,500 digital cable customers, a 6.7 percent gain. Internet subscriptions grew by 141,700, or 6 percent, and phone customers increased by 244,500, or 14.5 percent, from the year-ago quarter.
Cablevision’s average monthly revenue per subscriber totaled $136.55, which is up 5 percent from last year.
In a client note after the report, Goldman Sachs analyst Ingrid Chung said that the company’s subscriber metrics were disappointing, but overall financial results were better than anticipated.
Revenue from its cable programming unit, Rainbow, rose 11 percent to $249.3 million. Rainbow includes the cable networks AMF, IFC, WEtv and Sundance, the last of which it acquired last June.
The company’s Madison Square Garden Group saw revenue increase 2 percent to $271.3 million.
The company said its board on Wednesday declared a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share on its Cablevision NY Group Class A and Class B stock. The dividend is payable June 9 to shareholders of record as of May 18.