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Insight, Cox Post Q1 Gains

Insight Communications continued a string of strong first-quarter results for cable operators, reporting a 17% rise in revenue and a 22% gain in cash flow last week.

In the three months through March, privately owned Insight said it added 15,100 basic customers (the third consecutive quarter of basic growth), 26,300 high-speed Internet units and 16,300 digital-cable subscribers. Insight also added 25,500 voice customers, pushing penetration to 19% of marketable homes.

Revenue rose $205.8 million, up 17% from a year ago. Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization, a measure of cash flow, rose 22% to $67.7 million.

Insight has about 689,000 customers. Last fall its owners, including the Carlyle Group, explored a sale of the company but couldn't get the price they wanted while capital markets were in retreat.

Top operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Charter (see page 22) and Mediacom Communications all recently reported first-quarter operating gains.

Another privately owned firm, Cox Communications, said last week it grew total residential “customer relationships” (video, voice and data subscribers) by 1.3% over the first quarter of 2007, to 6 million. Bundled customers rose 7.6% to 3.8 million, telephone subscribers rose 15.9% to 2.46 million and high-speed Internet customers rose 10.3% to 3.8 million, Cox said. Digital cable customers rose 10%, to 3.2 million.

Cox finished March with 583,000 non-video residential customers, 24.1% above the figure a year ago.