Voom Shutdown to Cost $115M-$155M

Cablevision Systems Corp. said in a securities filing Wednesday that its ongoing shutdown of the Voom-branded HD direct-broadcast satellite service will likely cost between $115 million and $155 million.

Cablevision shut down Voom, which provided 21 original HD channels, on April 30, but agreed to explore making the channels available to other distributors. The service had been the source of much contention between Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan, who wanted to keep it up and running, and his son CEO James Dolan, who did not, over the better part of the year.

In a 10-Q quarterly financial statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday, Cablevision said the $115 million to $155 million shutdown cost (mainly for early termination of various contracts, other contractual obligations, employee termination benefits and other costs) does not include $45.8 million in settlement liabilities from Voom that have already been recorded on Cablevision’s books. Cablevision said that it expects the recent agreement to sell its Rainbow 1 satellite (which carried the Voom service) to EchoStar Communications Corp. for $200 million will more than cover the cost of shutting down Voom.

EchoStar agreed earlier this month to provide 10 Voom HD channels to its subscribers on May 1, with the other 11 channels becoming available by 2006.