Cable Operators

Cable Pay Rises Slightly

10/24/2004 8:00 PM Eastern

Cable operators and programmers gave employees modest pay increases this year, with the average MSO employee getting a 4.5% increase in base salary, while cable-network employees received an average 3.3% increase in base pay, according to the Cable Television Human Resources Association’s annual compensation survey.

Median increases were lower. The survey, conducted by The Croner Co., found a 2.2% median increase for MSO employees and a 3.1% increase for cable-network staffers.

Salary Uptick
Base salary increases in 2004:
Average Increase Median Increase
Operators 4.5% 2.2%
Programmers 3.3% 3.1%
Source: Cable Television Human Resources Association.

“Overall, I thought it showed me that we see improvements in employee salaries and benefits overall, and I think that’s a positive for the industry,” CTHRA executive director Pamela Williams said.

The survey also found two unnamed MSOs changed their long-term incentive plans by offering restricted stock units or shares, in addition to stock options, while six programming companies changed long-term incentive plans by either eliminating stock options or using restricted stock or shares in addition to stock options.

CTHRA said 80% of MSOs “make strong use of long-term incentives” and 75% of MSOs’ top management receive restricted stock in addition to stock options.

A slightly higher percentage (84%) of programming companies offer long-term incentives than MSOs, with stock options and restricted stock shares the most prevalent plans for networks.

On the operator side, CTHRA said survey participants included Adelphia Communications Corp., Bend Broadband, Bresnan Communications, Bright House Networks, Cablevision Systems Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., General Communication, Insight Communications, RCN Corp., Susquehanna and Time Warner Cable.

The survey also included telcos Verizon Communications, BellSouth Corp. and satellite-TV providers DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.

More than 35 programmers participated in the survey, including ABC Cable Networks, Discovery Communications Inc., Fox Cable Networks, MTV Networks, Home Box Office, Turner Broadcasting System Inc., NBC Universal Cable and Rainbow Media Holdings.