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Aug 8, 2002  •  Post A Comment

FCC gives TV manufacturers a DTV deadline

The Federal Communications Commission has decided that broadcasters should not have to shoulder the burden of the transition to digital, but that TV set makers should, too. In a decision today, the FCC gave TV set manufacturers a plan to include digital TV tuners on virtually all new TV sets by 2007. The phased rollout starts with larger, more expensive sets.

Time Warner Cable juggles management lineup: Time Warner Cable has made a number of management changes that reflect the recent restructuring of its cable partnership with Advance/Newhouse Communications. That partnership, formed in 1995, contains cable systems serving approximately 7 million subscribers.

The recent widely expected restructuring, which is expected to close by the end of the year, will result in a switch of about 2.1 million of those cable subscribers from Stamford, Conn.-based TWC to Syracuse, N.Y.-based Advance/Newhouse. Those subscribers are mostly in Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana and Michigan. While the systems are expected to remain in the partnership, those subscribers will be writing their monthly checks to A/N instead of TWC.

The restructuring of the partnership also called for TWC to take over Advance/Newhouse’s stake in Road Runner, TWC’s high-speed cable-modem-based Internet service.

The TWC management changes better match “executive talent with the new business strategies we have put in place over the last 10 months,” Glenn Britt, chairman and CEO, said in a statement, and “adjust our operating management structure to the restructured partnership with Advance/Newhouse Communications.” The TWC management shifts include the following:

Mike LaJoie, formerly VP of corporate development, has been promoted to the newly created position of executive VP of advanced technology.

Chuck Ellis, formerly an executive VP of operations, becomes executive VP and chief marketing officer.

Carl Rossetti, also formerly an executive VP of operations, becomes executive VP of new business development.

In addition, TWC’s operating management group, which will continue to report to Tom Baxter, president of TWC, has been cut from six executive VPs to five. That streamlining reflects the partnership restructuring in which TWC, which will remain the nation’s second-largest multiple system operator, will lose approximately 2.1 million customers to Advance/Newhouse.

The new operating management group consists of John Bickham, responsible for systems in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas; James Fellhauer, responsible for systems in California, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Minnesota; Bill Goetz, responsible for systems in Ohio, Louisiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi; Barry Rosenblum, responsible for systems in New York City and its suburbs; and Terry O’Connell, formerly division president for Columbus, Ohio, who has been promoted to executive VP, taking over responsibility for systems in upstate New York, Maine and Texas.

Also reporting to Mr. Baxter will be Jeff King, executive VP of network engineering and president of Road Runner.

Boston’s WGBH signs on for People Meters: WGBH, the Public Broadcasting station in Boston, has signed on for People Meter service from Nielsen Media Research.

The WGBH move is significant because it gives the People Meter another inroad in a major market where broadcasters have been boycotting the new technology, because of the widespread assumption that its continuous demographic measurement capability will result in lower ratings for them in relation to their cable and other competitors.

Now, WGBH will have access to overnight demographic ratings that will replace Nielsen’s previous data collection service in Boston that relied on separate samples of metered households and paper diaries.

Additional clients that have signed up for Nielsen People Meter service in Boston include AT&T Broadband, New England Cable News, New England Sports Network, WUNI-TV, the Univision affiliate owned by Entravision, and WNDS-TV50, an independent. Other clients include more than 400 advertisers and their agencies, as well as major syndicators and cable networks.

WGBH is a production source of nearly one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, including “Nova,” “Frontline” and “American Experience.”

DeHaven moves to KCNC: As promised last week, former WBBM-TV general manager Walt DeHaven has a new assignment from the Viacom Television Stations Group. He has been named VP and general manager of Viacom-owned Denver station KCNC-TV. He replaces Marv Rockford, who has been an executive at the station for 21 years. Mr. Rockford’s plans are unknown.

Mr. DeHaven will report to Viacom Chief Operating Officer Dennis Swanson, who has lured well-regarded ABC veteran Joe Ahern to switch network-owned groups and go back to Chicago as VP and general manager of WBBM, where Mr. DeHaven faced an uphill battle during his two-year tenure.

Video game network joins ‘XXX’ promo push: G4, the Comcast-owned cable network dedicated to video games, has jumped on the “XXX” promotional bandwagon, announcing a marketing partnership with Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures to promote the action theatrical feature starring Vin Diesel and Asia Argento.

Gamers are disproportionately boys and young men, essentially the same core demographic that is expected to fill the multiplexes for “XXX,” and the monthlong promotion will bring trailers and commercial spots for the movie in front of G4’s teens and young adults. G4 also will promote the Activision-published Game Boy video game tied to the movie and will air an edition of “Players,” its celebrity chat show, featuring the film’s stars and director Rob Cohen.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications