Time Warner Cable takes over Insight

ssloan@herald-leader.comFebruary 29, 2012 

  • Lexington cable history

    August 1994: TCI announces it is buying TeleCable, which provided cable coverage in Lexington.

    April 1998: TCI sells part of its franchise to InterMedia Capital Partners, resulting in a name change.

    October 1999: InterMedia changes its name to Insight Communications, reflecting a new ownership structure.

    February 2012: Time Warner Cable completes acquisition of Insight Communications.

Time Warner Cable took control of Insight Communications on Wednesday, completing a $3 billion deal announced in August.

The acquisition gives Time Warner Cable an additional 760,000 customers in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, including Lexington, Louisville, Bowling Green and Columbus, Ohio.

Many in the industry had long expected the deal, given that Insight's operations are so close geographically to some of Time Warner Cable's and that Insight's ownership shopped the company around since 2007.

The company expects operations will remain mostly "business as usual" for Insight's customers as it takes over day-to-day operations.

Spokeswoman Mary Jo Green said Time Warner Cable has not established a time frame for any programming, price or service changes.

"We really need to learn more about the network and local operations before we can talk about that," she said. "That's something we'll learn over the next few months."

In general, industry analysts told the Herald-Leader at the time of the deal's announcement that customers probably won't see much difference in how the operations are run, considering the many similarities in cable, Internet and phone product offerings.

Another question, though, is the future of Insight's CN|2 channel that offers local weather, sports and political coverage.

"Time Warner has a commitment to local programming as well, but up until now, since we weren't the owner, we've looked at everything from 20,000 feet," Green said. "Over the next few months, we'll be looking at the operations and everything."

Michael Willner, Insight's CEO, who is not joining Time Warner Cable, said he thinks the future of CN|2 is bright.

"Time Warner knows that space better than we did when we started CN|2," he told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday. "They have their own version of CN|2 in other markets.

"They can take a wealth and breadth of experience they have had in other markets and apply their successes and avoid their pitfalls, and make CN|2 even bigger and better than we could. For CN|2, I'm very excited."

Willner, who was often shown in Insight's commercials locally, said he hasn't made any decisions about his future in the industry.

"I've got to recover from the fact that I co-founded this company 27 years ago and I've been running it ever since," he said. "I do want to think about what's going to happen next and where I want to land, but I haven't gotten there yet."

He said that he would continue his popular blog at Michaelsinsight.com, and that he thinks the sale is a positive for Insight customers.

"I know Time Warner is a very good company," he said. "I know it from personal experience because I'm a customer of theirs in New York."

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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