Sverdlik Signs Onto TelAmerica Effort

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TelAmerica Media — looking to raise its profile and its ad-sales take — last week said it hired Roger Sverdlik as executive vice president in charge of its Cable Connect and Ad Max media groups.

Cable Connect aggregates MSOs' unsold local commercial avails for discounted sale to national advertisers, packaging that time according to network and demographic. Ad Max aims to do the same for 310 broadcast-TV network affiliates in the top 100 DMAs.

Sverdlik, who left Comcast Corp.'s cable unit last fall as senior vice president of ad sales, will remain in Philadelphia while also overseeing TelAmerica's sales office in New York and others due to open in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

All told, MSOs participating in this unwired network — including AT&T Broadband, Adelphia Communications Corp., Charter Communications Inc., Cable One Inc., Comcast, Cox Communications Inc., Mediacom Communications Corp. and Time Warner Cable — reach more than 60 million homes, Sverdlik estimated.

TelAmerica projects it will generate $40 million this year from selling such unsold avails, with $30 million of that placed via Cable Connect, Sverdlik said.

Sverdlik was replaced at Comcast by former Adlink CEO Charlie Thurston, now the Comcast cable unit's president of ad sales.

In a sense, as it creates a cost-effective "national footprint" for advertisers, Cable Connect is the latest stab at a national ad-sales interconnect, Sverdlik said.

"We're taking the interconnect concept to the next level, which is nationally," he said.

But "there are differences," he conceded. "Technically, [this] is not an interconnect. It's cleared more like syndication."

Previous attempts to develop a nationwide interconnect have not gone far. CableUSA Inc. never got going on a 2000 proposal to compete for spot-TV dollars, for instance.

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