New York -- Put away the rumor mill milling an imminent marriage of cable
systems here: Reports of Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems Corp. uniting
their properties are greatly exaggerated, Time Warner Cable New York City
president Barry Rosenblum declared Thursday afternoon.
"One of the two companies has to want to sell," Rosenblum said near the end
of his New York Cable Club luncheon appearance here. "There's no for-sale sign
at my office, and I don't see any at [Cablevision's] office."
He added that no merger discussions were under way or planned for the near
The leader of Time Warner's New York system, serving more than 1.1 million
Big Apple customers, didn't suggest what the system would do in reaction to
another Cablevision situation -- the recent one-year contract with Yankees
Entertainment & Sports Network, worked out minutes before the New York
Yankees opened their Major League Baseball season March 31.
"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.
On other matters, Rosenblum:
\u0007 Disclosed his system's high-definition subscriber count for the first time
in a public forum -- 15,000 with access to broadcast stations, Home Box Office
and Showtime HD services. That's about 8 percent of Time Warner Cable's HD
consumer count nationwide, which is now above 200,000.
\u0007 Acknowledged that the economy has impacted basic-subscriber growth.
However, that's been offset by a larger number of subscribers "buying more and
more product," including video-on-demand, high-definition TV and new digital
channels. "As long as we keep reinventing ourselves in the marketplace, we'll
continue to be a preferential player," he said.
\u0007 Stressed that relationships between cable operators and programming
services are, despite tension over specific issues, "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, the Cable Television and Telecommunications Association of New
York and Women in Cable & Telecommunications' local chapter.
Multichannel group editorial director Marianne Paskowski interviewed
Mediacom Communications Corp. chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso will be the
subject of the next New York Cable Club event in mid-June.