New York -- Cable Networks Inc.'s Regional News
Representation division scored a coup last week by signing on to handle national
spot-advertising sales for five Cox Communications Inc. news channels with a total of 1.1
The rep firm, which already represented three other Cox
regional news networks, is also trying to woo other major news services into its camp.
The Cox sweep swells RNR's 23-network-total subscriber
count to 16.5 million, or 80 percent of all regional news networks' subscribers,
according to David Kline, president and chief operating officer at RNR parent Rainbow
Advertising Sales Corp. (RASCO).
According to CNI/RNR senior vice president Deborah Cuffaro,
the five Cox-owned news networks that switched from rival National Cable Communications
were San Diego's News Channel 15; News on One in Omaha, Neb.; Arizona NewsChannel in
Phoenix; News Now 53 in New Orleans; and Rhode Island News Channel in Providence, R.I.
Their subscriber counts range from News Channel 15's
175,000 to Arizona NewsChannel's 400,000.
"This affiliation with [Cox's] CableRep
Advertising is a landmark for RNR, expanding our reach westward," Cuffaro said.
RNR already handled Cox-owned 300,000-subscriber NewsWatch
on Channel 15 in New Orleans and two other networks in which Cox has interests:
302,000-subscriber Las Vegas One and 389,000-subscriber Local News on Cable in Norfolk,
Other industry sources called the Cox deal "quite a
feather in [RNR's] cap," as Cox, despite being a partner in NCC, opted to switch
Officials at Cox were unavailable for comment at press
time. But Kline felt that the show of support was due to RNR's exclusive focus on
selling news channels and to ad sales being those networks' sole source of revenue.
Moreover, he indicated that these additions bolstered
RASCO's decision last February to transform CNI from a national spot-sales rep to a
RASCO isn't through yet: RNR has now set its sights on
at least three other major news channels that are not yet under its rep umbrella -- Bay TV
in San Francisco; Orange County Newschannel, serving Orange County, Calif.; and New York 1
Kline said RNR has begun preliminary talks with OCN
(575,000 subscribers), as well as Bay TV (1.4 million), and it hopes to make formal
presentations for their business shortly, followed by Time Warner Cable's NY1 (1.1
CNI had sharply accelerated the news-rep wars in 1997 and
1998 by luring a number of such services away from NCC, which folded its news unit into
its spot-sales operations in the fall of 1997.