ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 8, 2000--Charter Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:CHTR), one of the nation's leading broadband communications companies, will become the first U.S. cable operator to electronically distribute commercials and account information to all of its advertising sales offices and headends, under the agreement announced today with Video Networks Inc. (VNI). The new system will help Charter lower distribution costs, streamline transactions and boost opportunities for revenue growth.
The five-year deal calls for VNI to build a national infrastructure that electronically links Charter's advertising offices with headend facilities that are capable of inserting advertising into programming. The new infrastructure, which will be operational early next fall, will speed the delivery of advertising spots to regions and headends, making it possible for Charter to sell more advertising and be more responsive to customer requests.
"This system will enable us to instantaneously deliver advertising spots to one system or to several hundred," said Wes Hart, vice president, Charter Media. "Instead of waiting a day or more for tapes to be delivered, and hoping they get to their destination on time, this system will make it happen immediately. By speeding up that process and cutting costs, we'll see a boost in our advertising revenues."
Charter already has a similar VNI system in place in its Wisconsin operations. That system has helped Charter nearly double its Wisconsin advertising sales, Hart said. "This new nationwide, integrated solution will give us even more capabilities and flexibility than we have in that system," Hart said. "We're certainly hoping to see that same kind of growth in advertising sales across the entire company once the new system is fully implemented."
"We believe in the product and VNI's ability to adapt to our changing environment," said Rodney Bickel, Corporate Director of Technical Operations for Charter. "We have seen what they can do and how they are able to stay in front of the changing technologies." Bickel was instrumental in rolling out the VNI system in Wisconsin and will lead the deployment of the new system for Charter.
"Our integrated solution will provide Charter with video distribution and e-commerce capabilities that improve communications, control costs and provide opportunities for revenue growth," said Dana Michaelis, VNI, vice president, Local Market Sales. "Because VNI assumes responsibility for all aspects of network provisioning and management, Charter will not need to purchase servers or divert critical resources to manage the details of building and integrating its distribution network in order to get the exact capabilities it needs."
VNI infrastructure and applications provide Charter with an end-to-end managed network solution. The new system streamlines and economizes video distribution and associated e-commerce transactions, virtually eliminating tape and paper. Another benefit of the VNI system is translation capabilities that will make it possible for Charter's corporate office to distribute contracts to and receive affidavits from all its regional operating centers regardless of the type of traffic billing systems resident in the field.
About Charter Communications
Charter Communications, a Wired World(TM) company, is among the country's leading broadband communications companies. Charter serves approximately 6.2 million customers. Charter offers an array of services including cable television under the Charter brand; high-speed Internet access via Charter Pipeline(TM); advanced digital video programming services under the Charter Digital Cable(TM) brand. Charter is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol "CHTR." More information about Charter can be accessed on the Internet at www.chartercom.com.
About Video Networks Inc.
Video Networks Inc. ( www.vninet.com ) provides application services that enable customers in the broadcast, cable, media and entertainment industries to manage all aspects of digital content distribution. Customers use VNI's Media Commerce Network (MCN) to completely automate the management, distribution and exchange of digital media assets. The MCN provides distribution services over the Internet, satellite and telephony networks in conjunction with a suite of applications that allow customers to remotely and interactively use VNI's services. VNI serves many customers in the cable and broadcast industries for television advertising and news distribution, including Across Media Networks (AMN), Charter Communications, NBC News Channel and National Cable Communications (NCC). VNI is a privately held company located in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Safe Harbor" Statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Charter Communications' business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Prospectus.
Anita Lamont, 314/543-2215
Andy Morgan, 314/543-2217
Video Networks Inc.
Laurie Sillay Lahr, 770/619-0801