(The following article first appeared in the 11/18/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper Downtown)
Perhaps one reason why many U.S. cable TV shows haven’t, historically, talked too much about either the amount of money and Big Media power that the Newhouse Dynasty possessed in the 1990s or the literary quality of its Parade, Vogue and other Newhouse media conglomerate magazines, was that Newhouse also owned many U.S. cable television systems in the 1980s and 1990s. As the book Newspaperman by Richard Meeker observed:
“By early 1981, the Newhouse family owned and operated dozens of cable systems throughout the Northeast, South and Midwest, with a total of 500,000 subscribers—making theirs the 8th largest cable-TV operation in the United States.”
In the early 1990s, the cable-TV operation of the Newhouse media conglomerate was the 14th-largest one in the USA. Among the cable-TV companies owned by its Newhouse Broadcasting Corporation in the early 1990s were Metrovision Inc., News-Channels Corporation and Vision Cable Communications. Coincidentally, S.I. Newhouse III was the assistant secretary of the Metrovision Inc. subsidiary and Jo Newhouse was the personnel director of the Vision Cable Communications Inc. subsidiary of the Newhouse media conglomerate in the early 1990s.
Newhouse’s Metrovision operated 21 cable systems in states like Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming in the early 1990s; and over 450,000 households subscribed to cable-TV systems which it owned in the early 1990s.
Newhouse’s Vision Cable Communications operated 15 cable-TV systems in states like Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina in the early 1990s; and over 470,000 households subscribed to cable systems which it owned in the early 1990s.
Newhouse’s NewsChannels Corp. operated 31 cable systems in Alabama, Pennsylvania and upstate New York in the early 1990s; and over 380,000 households subscribed to this subsidiary’s cable systems in the early 1990s. Coincidentally, Newhouse’s NewsChannels Corp. operated a cable-TV system in Syracuse—where Newhouse also markets Syracuse’s daily newspaper—in the early 1990s.