Cablevision's Ready for Streaming & Slinging
Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge revealed on Thursday's earnings call that its delayed RS-DVR service, freed of legal entanglements with studios and programmers, will launch during the fourth quarter, starting in New York City.
Because content from the RS-DVR service can be streamed to any digital box -- even those without hard drives -- Cablevision is touting it as a whole-home DVR whose storage capacities can be expanded on the fly. (See Cablevision Won’t Disable Fast-Forward on RS-DVR, Cablevision RS-DVR Gets Limited Deployment, and DoJ: Butt Out of Cablevision RS-DVR Case .)
"Our plan is to end the purchase of physical DVRs soon after this first launch," he said. "We will use existing inventory in the interim for the remaining non-RS-DVR areas until we have completed the rollout of RS-DVR throughout our footprint."
Closer to launch is Optimum Link, a PC-to-TV media relay service that Cablevision first shed light on in February. That service, which will run at US$4.95 per month, will become available later this month, and let subscribers send photos, videos, documents, and other Internet content to the TV over Cablevision's broadband network. (See Cablevision to Deliver Net Content to Set-Tops and Netflix Cheers Cablevision’s PC-to-TV Play .)
Among other advanced video services, Cablevision has set an early-2011 launch for a service that will let customers shuttle linear and on-demand video from their traditional cable-TV subscriptions to broadband-connected TVs, iPads, and game players. However, that product will limit access to a customer's in-home network. Cablevision hasn't said when it might extend access out of home, as it's concerned about what copyright laws will currently allow. (See Cablevision to Deliver Live TV & VoD to iPad.)
Initially, that product "will essentially be an additional outlet, just like another TV is an additional outlet," Rutledge explained.
Cablevision revenues rose 5.6 percent, to $1.81 billion, coupled with net income of $112.1 million, or 37 cents per share. (See Cablevision Posts Q3.)
While Cablevision's financial house was in order, its subscription base, like those of other MSOs, is feeling some strain, and could use a boost from some of the new products that are about to roll out.
Cablevision lost 24,000 video subs, more than the 13,000 expected by Wall Street. But it added only 10,000 broadband subs and 9,000 voice subs, light compared to the respective 21,000 and 23,000 that were anticipated by analysts.
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett said Cablevision's past success with solid quarter-by-quarter growth may be finally catching up with it.
"For years, we (and others) have wrung our hands that Cablevision's growth will eventually have to hit a wall," he wrote in a research note. "It's simple math. Cablevision's penetration is already higher than that of any other cable operator for every service, and they face more competition from Verizon FiOS than any of its peers, even if, up to now, it hasn't had much of an impact."
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable