The Internet, besides having a growing impact on the
national ad-sales side, is starting to make its presence felt on cable operators'
local sales, as well.
Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Rainbow Advertising Sales
Corp. (RASCO) last week formed Rainbow Interactive, a division devoted entirely to
marketing and ad sales for new platforms, ranging from the Internet, to digital tiers, to
David Kline, RASCO's president and chief operating
officer, said the interactive division's first customer is Cablevision's EZSeek,
a locally focused online service due to be launched this summer. EZSeek will offer
interactive yellow pages; a searchable database of Long Island, N.Y., and Manhattan
events; coupons; and promotion opportunities. Ultimately, EZSeek will expand into New
Jersey, Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y., he said in a statement.
Terri Morse, previously senior vice president of marketing
and sales development for Softbank Interactive Marketing, has become senior vice president
and general manager of Rainbow Interactive.
In related news last week, Jerry Machovina, senior vice
president of ad sales at Tele-Communications Inc.'s TCI Media Services, said TCI is
in negotiations with "an automotive Web site," which would be tied into the
MSO's spot packages. Initial trials have shown that this "very
dealer-friendly" site not only attracts new business, but that it is proving to be
"a great retention tool," he said.
Machovina, who said TCI would likely complete the deal in a
couple of months, added that the company also expects to sign an advertiser to a buy tied
into @Home Network, its high-speed cable-modem service.
At MediaOne, Ed Dunbar, vice president of ad sales, said
Web-ad sales will be a key component of the joint venture between his company's
MediaOne Express high-speed-data service and Time Warner Cable's Road Runner.
In addition, Dunbar said, MediaOne's Atlanta system
has a real estate Web site that is sold in conjunction with its photo-classified cable
channel, and the MSO's city sites, such as Dive-In Atlanta and Dive-In Denver, also
"We're finally starting to turn the corner on
that strategy," said Kevin Dowell, group ad director at Jones Intercable Inc., about
his company's Internet-ad-sales efforts. Sales have been particularly strong since
early this year in Albuquerque, N.M.; Augusta, Ga.; and Chicago, Dowell said.
Comcast Corp.'s Comcast Online Communications is
selling banner ads on its "In Your Town" Web sites, which serve 20 major
markets, said Gaurav Suri, director of content and business development.