New York -- NBC chairman Robert Wright last week restated
an earlier threat to sell some of the network's programming to cable if affiliates aren't
more flexible in their dealings with the network.
"We have to change the business model," Wright
said during a panel discussion at last week's Variety/Schroders Big Picture Media
Conference here. "We want to renew arrangements with affiliates, but they have to be
in a sensible fashion," he said.
Otherwise, he added, "We're not looking to another
broadcasting outlet: We're looking to cable."
Cablevision Systems Corp. CEO James Dolan, who spoke on the
same panel, touted his company's positioning, with retail and content holdings, in an era
where cable-broadband values are skyrocketing.
Dolan said new technologies like high-definition television
were the driving forces behind his purchases of consumer-electronics retail chain The Wiz
and the Loews Cineplex and Clearview Cinema Group movie theaters.
"It's less difficult to sell someone TV programming
that they're already used to seeing, like movies and sports [via telemarketing],"
Dolan said. "Try selling HDTV to someone who's never seen it before. You can't do it
over the phone."