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Abbas to Help NCTC Analyze Affiliate Deals

As expected, Jeff Abbas, former head of programming at Adelphia Communications Corp., has joined the National Cable Television Cooperative, officials said last week.

Abbas, Adelphia's former vice president of programming, will serve as the Lenexa, Kan.-based NCTC's senior vice president of business affairs, a newly created position. Abbas has been a member of the co-op's board for four years.

Abbas will be working with Frank Hughes, the NCTC's senior vice of programming, on affiliation deals with programmers. He'll handle financial analysis of both new deals and renewals, according to NCTC president Mike Pandzik. The NCTC has contracts with about 140 networks, and there is typically a renewal with a programmer every three weeks or so, according to Pandzik.

Hiring Abbas is "a reflection of the amount of business, the deals that we do, and especially the renewals we do," Pandzik said.

"There's a lot of financial analysis involved," he added. "It used to be simpler. If we could get a better deal for members, that's all that mattered. Now we do quite a bit of financial analysis of each deal as we renew them."

Despite the volume and complexity of the work, the NCTC's programming department only includes Hughes, vice president of national accounts Scott Abbott and one support person.

"It's a lot of work for a small group of people," Pandzik said. "When Jeff became available, we thought, 'This is a great combination of skills and experience.'… I'm happy to have him."

Abbas will also be exploring "new line-extension businesses" for the NCTC, according to Pandzik, who declined to say what they are.

"Anything that would benefit members over the long haul is something that we're going to look at," Pandzik said. "He's [Abbas] going to help us in lots of ways."

After the NCTC's annual meeting in Portland, Ore., the end of July, Multichannel News
reported that Abbas was leaving Adelphia to work for the co-op, whose members reach more than 15 million subscribers. He and his family have already relocated to suburban Kansas City, where the NCTC is located, from Adelphia's former headquarters in Coudersport, Pa.

Abbas, who will report to Pandzik, couldn't be reached for comment.

Earlier this year, Adelphia's new management team brought in Judith Meyka, former In Demand senior vice president of distribution, as its top programming official, senior vice president of programming — a post above Abbas's.