UPDATE 1-Cablevision loses customers after Superstorm Sandy
Feb 28 (Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp took a $100 million hit on costs related to Superstorm Sandy and posted deeper video customer losses than expected, shedding 50,000 net subscribers in the fourth quarter.
At the end of the third quarter, the U.S. Northeast, which is Cablevision's main operating region, was hit by Sandy, which caused widespread flooding and power outages that disrupted cable and telephone services.
Cablevision had promised to rebate customers for their time without cable service. The company said on Thursday it paid out $33.2 million in credits to customers and that its consolidated adjusted operating cash flow decreased $105.5 million due to storm costs.
"The enormous challenges of Superstorm Sandy had a strong negative impact on our fourth quarter results," said Cablevision's chief executive James Dolan.
Cablevision said it lost 50,000 net video subscribers in the quarter, much higher than the 12,000 loss Wall Street analysts were expecting, said Brean Capital analyst Todd Mitchell.
"The subscriber impact clearly seems be more extreme than expected," Mitchell said.
The cable provider still posted higher quarterly net income, thanks to a $200 million payment from Dish Network Corp it received as part of a legal settlement. In October, Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite operator settled a four-year-old breach of contract lawsuit with Cablevision and AMC Networks over a joint HD channel venture called "Voom HD." Dish agreed to pay $700 million in cash to the two New York-based companies, which are both controlled by the Dolan family.
The cable service provider posted on Thursday net income for the fourth quarter of $116 million or 45 cents per share compared with net income of $60 million or 22 cents per share in the fourth quarter a year before.
Revenue fell to $1.66 billion from $1.69 billion a year earlier, just missing Wall Street expectations of $1.68 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.