Voom Bucks the Odds, Buys More Satellites

HD satellite broadcaster VOOM is expanding its coverage by purchasing five new satellites.

The service--a subsidiary of Cablevision-- has inked a contract with Lockheed Martin for five Ka-band satellites, however parent company Rainbow Media Enterprises does not have the funding for the project expected to cost between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, according to recent SEC filings.

Operating expenses for 2003 were $57.7 million and it did not produce revenues during that time. For the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2004, the company's operating losses were $211.6 million and net revenues were $9.6 million. Rainbow has also been losing subscribers from July to September, ending its fiscal quarter with 26,000 subscribers.

Perhaps in an effort to keep current subscribers, the one-year-old satellite service is increasing its current 39-HD channels up to more than 70. The service will use 16 transponders on the SES Americom AMC-6 satellite, called "Rainbow 2," a reference to the previously leased satellite.