New York -- The dominant MSO in the New York DMA, Time
Warner Cable of New York City, is taking a wait-and-see stance on Rainbow Media Holdings
Inc.'s forthcoming MSG Metro Channels.
So far, Rainbow's parent, Cablevision Systems Corp.,
is the only MSO to commit to carrying the channels on three consecutive channels,
effective with their Aug. 5 launch.
Executives at three other key New York market operators --
Adelphia Cable Communications, Comcast Corp.'s Comcast Cable Communications and
MediaOne -- did not return calls seeking comment on the localized-programming concept and
its appeal to local advertisers.
Larry Fischer, president of Time Warner CityCable, the
ad-sales arm for Time Warner Cable of New York City, has said that the project's
ad-sales prospects were unclear without more information.
"No one's pitched me on the concept or told me
the avails split," he said last week.
The key question, Fischer felt, was: "Will they be
able to execute?" He wondered about Rainbow being able to get three sequential
channels on the dial for Metro, given the much-discussed "channel-lock"
situation that cable operators have long contended with.
"Cablevision [Systems] may find room for them,"
but Fischer wondered about Time Warner and others in the DMA.
In addition, Fischer expressed concern that Metro
Channels' traffic and weather updates and its coverage of the local-sports scene
might cannibalize existing local-cable-news services like Time Warner's New York 1
News and Cablevision's News 12 channels.