March 20, 2012 – 4:15 pm
Cablevision's massive shakeup is continuing, as David Kline, who most recently led the company's Media Sales, is stepping down and is being replaced by Greg McCastle, an SVP at AT&T Services and the head of the telco's Advertising Solutions unit.
The news was first broken by BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield, in a post surveying the recent upheaval at Cablevision's executive ranks, including the departure this past December of resigned in December to become CEO of rival MSO Charter Communications. Greenfield writes that the six top executives have left since the summer as part of a wholesale housecleaning by Cablevision president and CEO Jim Dolan to re-energize the company's competitive strategy.
Like other major cable companies, Cablevision has had to deal with subscriber loss -- the challenge from Verizon in the Bethpage company's footprint has had an impact. But it has also gotten generally high marks for its aggressively pursuit of addressable TV and interactive advertising.
But those advances haven't generated much growth in actual ad dollars yet. In its earnings report last month, Cablevision said ad revenue in the fourth quarter was flat compared with the same period the year before. Ad sales in the east declined about 7 percent, though the company cited the higher political advertising market in the fourth quarter of 2010, implying that this year's expected ad spending from local and national races will put its sales on the plus side again. The ad picture of the fourth quarter wasn't all bad, as non-political ad sales were up a solid 8 percent.
Kline, a 15-year veteran of Cablevision, was viewed as instrumental, along with Rutledge, in establishing Cablevision's interactive advertising moves early on. The company signed a major interactive ad deal with WPP's GroupM last year. The move was an indication that Cablevision wasn't going to wait for the industry -- i.e., its MSO partners/rivals involved in Canoe Ventures' attempts to create a uniform standard for addressable advertising. The company recently boasted that advanced advertising platform has delivered nearly four billion impressions for advertisers. In a statement, Cablevision said that Kline had left to "pursue other interests."
McCastle will lead the company’s advertising sales teams for Cablevision’s local cable and advanced platform services, its local media properties including News 12 Networks and Newsday Media Group, and the New York Interconnect.
He will also takeover development of Cablevision's sales strategy as well as advanced multiplatform advertising solutions for national, regional and local advertisers, and will report to Tad Smith, president of Cablevision’s Local Media group.
Given the challenge that Cablevision has faced from other telcos, McCastle's background at AT&T can be seen as a reflection of Dolan and company taking the threat from that side of the business more seriously.
In his analyst note, Greenfield says that Smith is now positioned as a key Dolan advisor. As the ground continues to shift beneath the Bethpage company's staff, that backing will be important if McCastle is to continue Kline's work of convincing advertisers and agencies to help support its growing addressable ad business.
March 20, 2012 – 4:15 pm