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Cable Management

Departments

Customer/Employee Relations

This department responds to and investigates customer inquiries and complaints. These managers are responsible for developing community relations campaigns, interviewing job applicants, orienting new employees, and handling employee benefits.


Advertising Sales

A prime responsibility to attract revenue is to sell avails in programming on advertiser-supported cable networks. Total Reach Television administers advertising sales for R-Media Cable in Jackson and for more than 20 cable systems in the United States. TRTV acts as an advertising broker, keeping 55 per cent of its ad sales while sharing 45 per cent with the cable system. Ad brokers relieve the cable operator from an expensive staff of account executives, substantial commissions, and benefit packages---yet, still provide the cable system with extensive revenue.

Most cable systems target the top-rated cable networks to sell advertising during those networks' most popular shows. In many systems across the U.S., the NFL Sunday night football package on ESPN, college football on ESPN and fx, and the Monday night pro wrestling shows on TNT and USA are heaviest in local advertising sales. Depending on the cable network and daypart, cable operators are given eight to twelve minutes per hour to sell. Except for the premium events, advertising rates are comparable to local radio advertising prices and are sold in bulk. Bulk rates at TRTV could provide an advertiser with 100 spots for $750.

Other advertising sales on cable systems involve classified announcements and spots on local origination channels. Locally, an example of the latter would be advertising sales on I've Heard That Song! and Jackson Tonight!, as well as local parade coverage and community affairs programming. Classified announcements are similar to those in the "want-ads" of local newspapers. Some cable systems are now selling personals, or so-called "lonely hearts" advertising on bulletin board channels.


Operations

Operations managers oversee the bulk of the technical end of the operation and is sometimes the equivalent of the chief engineer of a television station. The operations manager supervises purchases of cable, decoder boxes, expansion of cable systems to new neighborhoods, and maintenance of the central antenna, or headend, and the entire system's operation.


Marketing

Because cable has a triple revenue stream: advertising sales and subscriber fees, a second level of sales/marketing is required. The marketing department is in charge of developing promotional campaigns, often through on-air break-ins on national cable networks and in direct mail promotions, to sell existing subscribers on new services and non-subscribers on signing for cable service.

This office engages in market research consistently to determine subscriber desires. Among the issues explored:

  • Program services cable subscribers want

  • Potential sales for pay-per-view cablecasts

  • Areas of cities where cable expansion can be targeted


Business

The model for the business manager is the traffic manager in a television station. The business manager is charged with overseeing company expenses versus revenues, tracking customer sign-ins and drops, and coordinating computer operations of the entire cable system.

General Manager

The man to whom everyone reports is the general manager. Ultimately, the GM is charged with making a profit for the cable system, which likely is owned by a national chain of multi-system operators.

The cable general manager has seven major areas of supervision. A summary includes:

  • Supervising the management staff and all personnel

  • Maintaining required administrative policies, safety rules for technicians, and government regulations

  • Develops long-range planning goals

  • Prepares and manages the budget

  • Approves purchases of equipment and supplies

  • Develops the franchise renewal proposal at the time of reconsideration and lobbies for advantages for the system if competing cable operators seek to enter the market

  • Acts as a spokesman to the community on behalf of cable's benefits and is the chief liaison to subscribers


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