Century Communications Corp. is eliminating its corporate
ad-sales department and returning to the decentralized structure that it had until four
John Bordeleau, who had headed the MSO's ad-sales
department for nearly four years, and three corporate sales assistants are being laid off
in the process. Instead of a centralized sales department, with its field directors
reporting to Bordeleau, Century will now have those directors report to the operations
vice president in each of their regions.
Although Bordeleau mused that this might be a cost-cutting
effort to increase the MSO's bottom-line appeal to a prospective buyer, like
billionaire Paul Allen, Bernard Gallagher, Century's president and chief operating
"It's a revenue-driven move. We originally had a
decentralized ad-sales group," which performed better, Gallagher said.
Bordeleau said Century finished its latest fiscal year in
June with income from ad sales up nearly 40 percent.
Century has major clusters in the Los Angeles and Colorado
Springs, Colo., areas.
Interestingly, a larger top 10 MSO, MediaOne, went in the
opposite direction late last year, choosing Ed Dunbar as its corporate vice president of
Bordeleau, who received the Cabletelevision Advertising
Bureau's President's Award at the Local Cables Sales Management Conference in
July for his "significant contributions" to local sales, said last week that he
was "very proud" of Century's sales achievements under his watch.
In August 1996, Century enabled Adlink to offer advertisers
virtually marketwide coverage by becoming the last major MSO holdout to join the Los
Bordeleau, who'll be leaving Century in about one
month, said he may start a consultancy with a mission to "help position the ad-sales
efforts" of smaller MSOs and emerging cable networks. He added that he is trying to
place his three staffers elsewhere. Bordeleau was named director of ad sales at Century in
February 1995 and promoted to vice president in August 1996.
Dan Gold, the executive who brought Bordeleau in to oversee
the MSO's ad sales, recently left his post as president of Century Cable, and he
hasn't been replaced, which has also fueled speculation about Century's being
groomed for sale.
Allen's interest in Century surfaced in July, at about
the same time that the MSO was internally making known its intent to reduce its ad-sales
Gallagher dismissed reports about Allen being interested in
acquiring the 1.3 million-subscriber MSO as "just a rumor," adding, "Tell
him we'd be interested in buying his systems."
Analysts have said that Century's Los Angeles system,
with 300,000 heavily upscale subscribers, would be particularly attractive to Allen, whose
recent MSO acquisitions --Charter Communications Inc. and Marcus Cable Co. L.P. -- have
already given him about 400,000 subscribers in that market.