Cablevision raising pay TV rates; high speed data, phone fees stay constant

Those seeking a clue about Cablevision Systems' (NYSE: CVC) focus should probably start by looking at the fact that the Long Island-based MSO will increase TV subscription fees 2.9 percent over the next year but will hold the line for high-speed data and phone prices for the eighth consecutive year.

The most obvious reason for the TV increase is to pass through higher fees that the service provider now must pay to News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) to carry Fox Networks, including broadcast stations in the Philadelphia and New York City markets. The apparent reason for the flat line on data and phone is the company's focus on attracting and holding more broadband customers.

Cablevision gained 10,000 new high-speed data customers and 9,000 voice customers in the third quarter, according to company results released last week. Basic video subscribers--the ones who will be paying more for their service tiers--declined by 25,000. In a prepared statement, John Trierweiler, the MSOs' senior vice president of product management noted that the company "worked hard" to hold the cable TV price adjustment below 3 percent "even given the impact of higher programming costs."

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