New York -- National Cable Communications' latest
aggressive move was a blow to Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp.'s (RASCO) Cable
Networks Inc., but some industry observers said CNI still has iron in its fists.
Some industry sources felt that CNI was "on the
ropes" late last week, when it was announced that it will lose a number of
Tele-Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable systems inside and outside of the top 100
markets by early 1999.
But Jerry Machovina, executive vice president of ad sales
at TCI Communications Inc. (TCIC), TCI's cable arm, felt that CNI's announcement
just a week earlier of a greatly expanded regional-news-sales rep firm -- Regional News
Representation, also effective in early 1999 -- "suggests that they've got a
very viable business in that arena."
Larry Zipin, vice president of ad sales at Time Warner,
said RASCO/CNI has already staked out "some intriguing opportunities [involving
regional news and new media] that may well involve Time Warner sites. The NCC deal does
not preclude [that]."
Rainbow Interactive was formed last spring to concentrate
on the Internet, digital tiers and other new media.
Still, the loss of numerous systems to NCC will probably
mean that RASCO and parent Cablevision Systems Corp. will initiate "a reconstitution
of [CNI] personnel and facilities," Machovina noted, adding that he still expects CNI
to continue in the rep business "in some capacity."
RASCO president and CEO David Kline said in a prepared
statement last Thursday, "CNI will remain in the national spot-advertising-sales
business for as long as it remains profitable for the company to do so."
Citing RASCO's industry leadership in regional-news
sales via CNI now and via RNR in 1999, he promised "additional affiliation
Interestingly, late last year, it was NCC that was reeling,
forced to cut back its stand-alone regional-news rep operations after CNI snared a batch
of regional-news networks.
-- Jim Forkan