Cablevision Aims for 'Clarity'

Responding to intense Wall Street pressure to provide further information on its perceived $550 million 2003 funding gap, Cablevision Systems Corp. said Friday that it will hold an in-person investor conference on Aug. 8 to provide further clarity.

In a statement, Cablevision said it will address its 2002 and 2003 capital-spending plans and its 2003 funding plans, along with its regular review of second-quarter financial results.

"In this time when corporate credibility has been called into question, we welcome the opportunity to communicate face-to-face with the investment community, answer questions and review our plans," Cablevision president and CEO James Dolan said in a press release. "I look forward to Aug. 8."

In the release, Cablevision said that both Dolan and vice chairman William Bell will sign a certification of its financial results, a new Securities and Exchange Commission requirement. The company added that it anticipates no changes to its SEC filings from prior reporting periods.

Cablevision also released second-quarter subscriber figures, adding that it lost about 10,000 customers in the period. For the first half of the year, the MSO said its subscriber base has declined by about 17,000 customers, indicating to some analysts that the adverse impact from its carriage dispute with the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network is less than was first expected. For the month of June, Cablevision said that basic subscribers rose by 2,200 customers.

Cablevision also reiterated its full-year 2002 guidance, projecting that cash-flow growth at its Cablevision NY Group — which includes its cable systems, Madison Square Garden, consumer-electronics chain The Wiz and its Metrochannels and News 12 cable networks — will be about 25 percent. Total telecommunications cash flow should be up by about 15 percent in the period.

In a research report, UBS Warburg LLC cable analyst Aryeh Bourkoff said the announcement was a positive one, but there are still concerns about how the company will fill its funding shortfall.