NCC Details Its Interconnect Rollout

New York— National Cable Communications has released more details on its interconnect initiative.

The top spot-cable ad-sales rep firm's CableLink Interconnects division late in the second quarter added Cleveland — the No. 15 DMA — and Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y., the No. 56 market. That brings the number of consolidated markets that NCC now runs to seven, according to NCC CEO Tom Olson.

In addition, NCC has helped several MSOs to form and manage their own interconnects. All told, there are 36 other interconnects in the top 100 DMAs, up from just 10 in January 2000, NCC officials said.

The combined number of NCC-run and MSO-driven sales interconnects should reach 50 by year's end, they projected, although the rep firm has not yet finalized its next markets for consolidation.

Cleveland CableLink, launched June 13, and Albany CableLink, launched June 25, will add about 1.35 million cable homes to expand NCC's interconnect reach to nearly 4 million homes across the seven DMAs, Olson said. Cleveland is the highest-ranked DMA in NCC's interconnects initiative thus far, and the one with the most cable homes (1 million).

NCC's previously consolidated markets are: Providence/ New Bedford, R.I.; Hartford/ New Haven, Conn.; and Buffalo, N.Y. (all begun late last year); and Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. (both launched in January).

In NCC's latest one-stop shopping markets, advertisers can now buy across 32 insertable networks via 12 systems in Albany and 22 networks via 33 systems in Cleveland.

Early indications for the interconnect strategy are positive, Olson reported. For the first quarter, ad revenues for the first five NCC-run interconnects rose almost 15 percent, compared with first-quarter 2000. Their share of revenue jumped about 30 percent, he added, since spot television spending on broadcast stations in those same markets dropped about 20 percent.

Adelphia Media Services vice president Jack Olson, whose MSO is participating in the NCC interconnects in Cleveland, Albany and Buffalo, said, "Early results indicate that national spot cable growth is performing stronger than spot TV, and we are growing our share in these markets."

Commercial-inventory management, schedule uplink and billing operations all are carried out from CableLink's 30,000-square-foot operations center in Bloomfield, N.J.

Prior to its CableLink venture, NCC had built and managed hard-wired sales interconnects in Chicago, Detroit and Washington, before eventually turning over the operations of those units to its MSO partners.