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Tuesday, December, 13 2011

Bright House consolidates Tampa market with new interconnect

By: Stewart Schley Tuesday, December, 13 2011

Four cable operators, 40 ad-supported networks and 80% reach of television homes.


Those are the key mathematical ingredients in Bright House Networks' launch today of a cable advertising interconnect  serving the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., market.


Providers represented by Bright House (in addition to its own cable advertising operation, which is the largest in the Tampa DMA) are Verizon's FiOS TV, Comcast and Knology.


Today's release points out that the arrangements give the Tampa Bay Interconnect 100% coverage of wired cable homes in the market, and 80% of total TV homes. Based on Nielsen's 2011 estimates, there are roughly 1.8 million TV HHs in the market, translating to more than 1.4 million wired cable homes.


The arrangement is the latest in a recent string of "odd bedfollow" alliances that unite incumbent cable operators with rivals that compete on a day-to-day basis for pay-TV subscribers. Advertising, though, is a different game, with reach and one-stop buying convenience trumping the hand-to-hand combat for customers.


“This interconnect provides advertisers trying to reach the Tampa television market with a streamlined approach to purchasing cable advertising,” said Todd A. Stewart, corporate vice president, advertising sales, Bright House Networks.


The arrangement also extends an ongoing strategy within Verizon's FiOS TV group to leverage the selling prowess of third-party agents. Most of the FiOS local TV inventory (the ad spots not assigned to interconnects such as the Tampa Bay Interconnect) is sold by Kentucky-based rep Viamedia, and Verizon also has struck deals in various markets with Comcast Spotlight, as part of its i+ market-consolidation effort. In Tampa, local inventory will continue to be repped by Viamedia, while Bright House assumes responsibility for market-wide sales that include FiOS TV. On a national level, NCC will represent the interconnect's inventory to spot advertisers.

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