Robbins' Resolution: Cut Programming Costs


Cox Communications Inc. president and CEO Jim Robbins laid out his new year's
resolutions for investors and analysts at an industry conference Wednesday. Near
the top of his list: reining in programming costs.

Speaking at the Salomon Smith Barney Inc. Global Entertainment, Media and
Telecommunications Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., Wednesday, Robbins said
keeping rising programming rates in check is a top priority.

His other resolutions: to be the industry leader in all facets of the
business, and to show as an industry what cable can do and what it can mean to
America, thus stifling any threat of further government regulation.

Robbins invited investors to hold him to these resolutions, adding that on
the programming front, his goal is "eliminating ugly 11th-hour
retransmission-consent negotiations and getting a handle on sports-programming

"Something's got to break," he said. "What we're seeing in the way of
requests for changes in rates from programmers is just totally

Robbins added that drastic measures, like dropping networks, may be in

"The services are going to have to get dropped or some substitute programming
is going to have to be put in, as Time Warner [Cable] did," he said. "We're
going to have to deal with it."

Earlier this month, Time Warner dropped two of Fox Cable Networks Group's
regional sports networks in Florida and Minnesota because of what the MSO called
"extreme increases" in programming rates.