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Troubled VOOM causes Cablevision to delay spin-off

Cablevision Systems has suspended plans to spin-off its media group, Rainbow Media Enterprises. The suspension was widely interpreted as a sign that the cable operator will either sell or shutdown its troubled VOOM HD satellite television service.

The suspension plan was revealed last week in a filing by Cablevision with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cablevision, having twice before delayed the spinoff, said it would instead “pursue strategic alternatives” for the Rainbow group, which includes VOOM and several cable television networks.

VOOM has only 26,000 subscribers nationwide and lost $75.3 million in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30.

Speculation as a likely purchaser for VOOM centered on EchoStar Communications, the operator of Dish Network, the second-largest satellite TV service. VOOM began service in October 2003 and sells only HD programming.

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