Lenexa, Kan. -- In a follow-up to a meeting last month, the
National Cable Television Cooperative will continue to try to work with its members to
find ways to guarantee programmers a specific number of subscribers as part of carriage
deals, officials said last week.
"It's still a work in progress," said Frank
Hughes, senior vice president of programming for the NCTC. "Our members realize what
the upside could be. But it's a logistical thing."
At a Jan. 19 meeting, 15 representatives of the NCTC's
larger member companies hashed over programming issues, including ways that co-op members
could commit to launching networks to a minimum number of their homes as part of NCTC
affiliation deals with programmers.
The NCTC represents 850 member companies -- with Adelphia
Communications Corp. being the latest to join -- totaling roughly 12 million subscribers.
By pooling the subscribers of its members, the NCTC is able to negotiate discounts on
contracts with programmers and hardware suppliers the same way that large MSOs can.
But unlike MSOs, the NCTC can't guarantee programmers
a specific number of subscribers as part of affiliation deals. MSOs that can make such
guarantees can often negotiate better deals from programmers.