Time Warner Cable laid off 20 sales executives at its San Diego system last week after it cut an interconnect agreement with Cox Communications Inc. Under the agreement, Cox will represent Time Warner’s local ad-sales efforts in the market.
With about 1 million television homes, San Diego, the 26th-ranked DMA, was one of the largest markets that never had a cable interconnect. Cox executives said the deal was driven by the need to offer advertisers the ability to reach San Diego cable subscribers with one phone call, one tape and one invoice.
“The opportunities had gotten so big that it was ridiculous for us not to do it,” Cox Media regional vice president Mike Miller said.
With the combined Time Warner and Cox inventories, advertisers will be able to reach 865,000 homes in the market with a single media buy. Cox has represented Adelphia Communications Corp.’s 66,500 homes in San Diego since August 2001.
Cox Media employs 102 people at the San Diego ad-sales operation. Officials said some of the Time Warner employees that were laid off would be interviewed for jobs at Cox. “We hope that as many as half might find jobs with Cox,” Time Warner Cable spokesman Mark Harrad said in an e-mail last week.
Harrad said with the formation of the San Diego Interconnect, many of the Cox and Time Warner positions were duplicative.
“Because the San Diego Interconnect is for all lines of business: national/regional and local — our entire team became duplicative — at least in the sense of their current positions in the new organization,” Harrad said.
New York City remains the largest market without an advertising interconnect, following Time Warner Cable’s departure from the New York Interconnect in 1998. Executives at Time Warner and Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp. unit said in June that Time Warner was negotiating a possible return to the interconnect, which also represents Comcast Corp.