NEW YORK — Cablevision Systems Corp., the nation's fifth-largest cable company, said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net income rose 45 percent, helped by its recent purchase of Bresnan Communications and a slight increase in phone and Internet customers.
Cablevision added a net 271,000 basic cable subscribers during the quarter to bring the total to about 3.3 million. Were it not for the Bresnan acquisition, it would have lost 35,000 basic cable customers. Bresnan had added customers in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah to Cablevision's New York-area operations.
Earnings rose to $114 million, or 38 cents per share. That's up from $78 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting 44 cents per share.
Revenue rose about 6 percent to $1.87 billion from $1.77 billion. That was roughly in line with the $1.85 billion analysts were expecting.
Cablevision stock fell 98 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $36.44 in morning trading.
In addition to a net gain of 271,000 basic cable subscribers, the company added a net 190,000 digital cable customers and 140,000 telephone customers. In these cases, too, Bresnan added hundreds of thousands of customers, without whom Cablevision would have lost customers in the New York area. Without Bresnan, growth was more modest with a net gain of 6,000 Internet customers and 9,000 phone customers.
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All told, Cablevision said this increase in subscribers boosted revenue, as did higher fees.
Cablevision also reported 14 percent revenue growth from Rainbow, which owns pay TV channels such as AMC, Sundance and WE tv along with the IFC suite of independent film production entities.
In December, the company's board approved a plan to spin off Rainbow Media, creating two separate companies — one focused on the provision of cable TV signals and hook-ups and another focused on programming. The spin-off will reduce Cablevision's debt by about $1.25 billion.
For the full year, the company earned $361 million, or $1.20 per share, compared with $286 million, or 96 cents per share, in 2009. Annual revenue rose to $7.23 billion from $6.85 billion.
Cablevision will pay a quarterly dividend of 12.5 cents per share on March 21 to shareholders of record on Feb. 28. That's the same dividend the company issued in the most recent quarter.