Cablevision Exploring Spinoff Rainbow Media

Cablevision says it is exploring whether to spin off Rainbow Media, the group that owns networks such as AMC, IFC, the Sundance Channel and Wedding Central, by the middle of next year.

Cablevision Systems said Thursday the spinoff would be structured as a tax-free distribution to stockholders.

Cablevision, which spun off Madison Square Garden earlier this year, says it is "confident in the strength" of the Rainbow business.

If the spinoff takes place, Cablevision says its cable and telecommunications business, Newsday, Clearview Cinemas, News 12 Networks and MSG Varsity will remain part of the company.

Cablevision says it is targeting the middle of 2011 for the proposed spinoff. It says it is not considering a sale of Rainbow or of its cable and telecom business.