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Cablevision’s Voom launch cost profits

Cablevision Systems, the sixth-largest U.S. cable operator, has reported a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter net loss, dragged down by the high cost of launching Voom, the company’s satellite-to-home HDTV television business.

The loss of $197.4 million, or 69 cents a share, compares with net profit of $529.7 million, or $1.79 share, a year earlier. A Thomson First Call survey of 13 analysts had forecast, on average, a loss of 45 cents a share, Dow Jones reported.

Overall, revenue rose 12 percent to $1.23 billion. Revenue from Rainbow Media’s core networks—AMC, the Independent Film Channel, Women’s Entertainment and Consolidated Regional Sports —increased 26 percent to $167 million.

However, Voom, the satellite TV service launched Oct. 15, posted an operating loss of $54.9 million, compared with a $1.8 million operating loss a year earlier. The company said it had signed 1,627 customers but hadn’t booked revenue since it wasn’t yet charging for service.

The Voom service continues to add programming in an attempt to gain market share. After recently adding cable networks Bravo, MSNBC and CNBC, the programming offering now consists of 30 HD channels and 75 standard-definition channels.

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