Cablevision Systems Corp. named two executives to newly
created senior jobs last week as part of the MSO's reorganization of its burgeoning
New York-area cluster along functional, rather than geographic, lines.
Joseph Azznara, 45, was named president of
telecommunications services, and Michael Bair, 42, was named president of product
management and marketing. Both will report to Cablevision CEO James Dolan.
Azznara -- a one-time field technician who lately has run
most of Cablevision's cable systems in the region, as senior vice president -- will
oversee all aspects of the MSO's network infrastructure in the 2.6 million-home
tristate area. Cablevision Lightpath and Optimum Telephone -- the business- and
residential-phone businesses, respectively -- and the Optimum Online data unit will report
to Azznara, as well as the cable operations.
Bair, who ran the Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. sports
networks that are now part of Fox/Liberty Networks, will oversee marketing plans for
Cablevision's bundled video, data and telephony services. His tasks at Rainbow are
being assumed by Rainbow president Joshua Sapan and by the sports networks' general
managers, he said.
Rainbow and Cablevision's Nobody Beats the Wiz retail
stores remain separate operations.
Azznara said the reorganization came out of a desire to
move quickly into advanced-video services, including digital and video-on-demand, as well
as into high-speed data and residential telephony.
"We want one point of contact for the customer -- to
be able to call and talk to a representative who can explain and take the order for all
three or four services," he said, adding that the same goes for field-service
All of this will mean substantial retraining of
Cablevision's customer-contact work force, Azznara said. He estimated that in markets
where the new services are rolled out, employees will be pulled out of the work force and
get three to five weeks' training in the new services.
Azznara said the new setup would mean an
"upsizing" of Cablevision's total of 5,000 employees in the region. Bair
said he's been promised "a substantial increase" in the size and resources
of the marketing organization, including an emphasis on research to come up with "a
unified and powerful message of who are, what we offer, the benefits and the costs."
Dolan said in a prepared statement that the reorganization
is aimed at "developing a coordinated marketing approach to accelerate the delivery
of a new generation of products and services." Cablevision has added significantly to
its New York-area holdings over the past year through system deals with
Tele-Communications Inc. When a pending acquisition for Connecticut systems closes,
Cablevision will have about 3 million subscribers in the cluster.
The hefty cluster also inspired some side deals, such as
Cablevision's $70 million acquisition of Radio City Productions Inc., to add some
locally produced programming; and the $100 million deal for Nobody Beats the Wiz, as a
retail outlet for cable modems, high-definition television sets and tickets to events at
Cablevision-owned Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden.