Hindery Eyes Future, Changes


Denver -- Local broadcasters and cable systems will start
cooperating within three years, and one of the "Big Four" broadcast-television
networks will "reconfigure" itself within one year, Leo J. Hindery Jr.,
president and chief operating officer of Tele-Communications Inc., predicted
last week.

Speaking at the Cabletelevision Advertising
Bureau's Local Cable Sales Management Conference
here, Hindery said
high-definition television would be the driver behind closer cooperation between local
stations and operators.

In a wide-ranging keynote speech and subsequent
question-and-answer session, Hindery also touched on:

• Alliances: "The word
'partnership' is key" for TCI. Besides forming partnerships with other MSOs
to consolidate markets, he said, TCI has developed alliances with Silicon Valley companies
and advertiser Kraft Foods -- not to mention the AT&T Corp./TCI merger -- to hasten
the arrival of convergence and two-way television.

"A number of other high-profile partnerships" are
due "in the next few weeks," Hindery added.

Related to the market consolidations, Hindery said TCI left
the New York area, where its subscriber count was "a distant third," because
Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable "won the war and deserve the

• Ad revenues: It's
"inconceivable" that local cable sales would surpass subscriber revenues, but ad
sales are en route eventually to as much as 30 percent of cash flow, which, he said,
"ain't chump change."

TV Guide: Hindery likes the idea of
offering subscribers a choice of three guide options, due to recent transactions -- print,
electronic program guide and Internet.

"I don't care which one the customer ultimately
chooses," he said.