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Cablevision to Shutter Its Voom Venture

The end of the satellite TV service represents a defeat for the company's founder, Charles Dolan.

April 09, 2005|From Associated Press

Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York-area cable TV provider, said it would proceed with a shutdown of its money-losing satellite TV venture called Voom.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission released Friday, Cablevision said the service would no longer be available to customers as of April 30.

The move represented a defeat for Cablevision's chairman and founder, Charles Dolan, who had championed the service. His son James, Cablevision's chief executive, had sided with board members who opposed it -- leading to a bitter family feud.

Investors, many of whom had been skeptical about Voom's prospects, applauded the company's move to exit the satellite business. Cablevision's shares rose 39 cents Friday to $28.23 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Cablevision had decided earlier to shut down Voom but gave Charles Dolan until March 31 to arrange financing to buy Voom's assets privately. With that deadline past, Cablevision's board decided Thursday to proceed with the shutdown.

Even though Voom will be closed, the company said in its regulatory filing that it would consider whether Voom's 21 high-definition TV channels could be marketed to other satellite or cable TV providers.

Cablevision, which is based in Bethpage, N.Y., has about 3 million cable subscribers in the New York area. It also owns Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, the NBA's New York Knicks and the NHL's New York Rangers.

A company spokesman declined to say whether the shutdown would result in any further charges against the company's earnings. Voom posted a loss of $661.4 million on revenue of $14.9 million for 2004, including $354.9 million in write-downs.

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