No more cable-only scoops in New England. Under founder/president Philip Balboni—and with the backing of Hearst and Comcast—New England Cable News has grown to reach nearly 3.6 million homes in more than 1,000 communities from Maine to Connecticut. But he’s expanded partly through deals with cable competitors, including Verizon’s FiOS TV. News 12 in New York promotes itself with the tag "Only on Cable, Never on Satellite." You can’t make the same claim. We can’t. In fact, we’ve broken some ground here with Comcast’s support by making ourselves available to some overbuilders. There are two small municipally owned systems in Massachusetts that carry us, as does RCN, which is a more substantial competitor. And we made a deal with Verizon where we’re carried already in three areas. Why deal with the enemy? Our board concluded that this was the right decision. We want to grow. We want to be available to all customers. And we did this with the full support of both of our owners. Have these deals hurt your relationships with cable affiliates? I can say only that we have a very good relationship with Comcast and the other operators. Our future with Comcast is very secure and this step was taken with its full knowledge and support. This is forward-looking of Comcast. While I’m sure Comcast would prefer to have this service maintained as a cable-exclusive, Comcast realizes that, for many reasons, this was the right thing to do, and that the competition ensuing between cable operators and Verizon, AT&T and whomever is going to be played out at so many different levels. Does covering state and local politics help operators boost their image with regulators? Absolutely. The fact that we provide this type of coverage is something governors, members of state legislatures and Congress appreciate. The cable systems that carry us receive the appropriate credit for having made that possible. What are your multiplatform plans? We have a VOD presence with Comcast. Our Newsnight program, Dream House and TV Diner are all offered. We also present our midday news as well as our 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. All our documentaries are in VOD as well as other daily newscasts. What about mobile platforms? For cell phones, we created a special Website, so if you have a Web-enabled phone, you can go to that site and scroll through news headlines and weather. It’s just text, because there’s no local video yet on cell phones, but we’re very excited about being able to do that when the cell phone companies are ready. This is a free service to people and you can access it anyplace. We started podcasting recently, and a number of the VOD shows are also distributed on podcasts. SSA

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