No N.Y. Cable Combo, Says TW's Rosenblum

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New York— Rumors of a marriage between Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems Corp. cable systems in New York City are greatly exaggerated, Time Warner's New York City president, Barry Rosenblum, declared last week.

"One of the two companies has to want to sell," Rosenblum said near the end of his New York Cable Club luncheon appearance. "There's no for-sale sign at my office, and I don't see any at [Cablevision's] office." No merger discussions were underway or planned for the near future, he added.

The leader of Time Warner's New York system, which serves more than 1.1 million Big Apple customers, didn't suggest what the system would do in reaction to another Cablevision situation: The Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO's recent one-year contract with the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, a regional sports channel that carries 134 New York Yankees ballgames and other fare.

"We owe it to ourselves and our customers to see what our options are. I can't picture us going back to our customers and asking them to pay more for YES," he said.

Also at the luncheon, Rosenblum:

  • Disclosed his system's high-definition subscriber count for the first time in a public forum: 15,000 with access to broadcast, HBO and Showtime HD services. That's about 8 percent of Time Warner Cable's HD national consumer count, now at more than 200,000.
  • Said the soft economy has hampered basic-subscriber growth. That's been offset by more subscribers "buying more and more product," including video-on-demand, HDTV and new digital channels.
  • Opined that relations between cable operators and programming services, despite tension over specific issues, are "as good as, or better than they've ever been."

Multichannel News co-sponsored Rosenblum's New York Cable Club appearance in association with sister Reed Business Information publication Broadcasting & Cable, Cable Television and Telecommunications Association of New York and Women In Cable & Telecommunications' local chapter.

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