More Suburbs Give Up Profits to Gain Cable TV Competition

Article excerpt

Byline: Arthur Kane Daily Herald Staff Writer

Des Plaines has become the most recent Northwest suburb to sign an agreement for cable TV with Ameritech New Media - and the most recent suburb to reluctantly trade some profits for the competition Ameritech provides.

Like Des Plaines, suburbs who sign with Ameritech are also agreeing to forego any advertising revenue the cable station generates. Des Plaines earns about $26,000 annually in advertising revenue from TCI, currently it's lone cable provider. But in letting Ameritech move in to compete with TCI, the city knows it will get zero ad money.

This troubles Des Plaines Ald. Carla Brookman, who thinks that ad sales on the cable station will boom - and that Des Plaines could be signing away millions of dollars over the life of the 15-year contract.

"We're being bullied by Ameritech," said Brookman, the 5th Ward alderman. "It equates to corporate greed."

TCI Cable also gives Des Plaines another $200,000 annually in subscriber fees. While Ameritech refused to even negotiate over the ad revenue, it will pay 6 percent of the subscriber fees the company collects in the city.

For most Northwest suburbs, though, the loss of ad revenue seems to be more than made up in being able to give residents competition for cable service.

"We were out to provide cable competition, not raise revenue," said Steve Vinezeano, assistant to the city manager of Prospect Heights, which approved a franchise agreement with Ameritech Oct. …