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Document Details


Title: Peter Barton
Document type: Oral history
Accessibility: Free Only
Repository: Cable Center. Barco Library. Special Collections
Collection: Cable Center Oral History Collection
Description: The story of Peter Barton is, in large measure, the story of Tele-Communications Inc., how the company grew and evolved in the 1980s and 90s to become one of the most powerful forces in the media world. Barton graduated from Columbia University and, after working for Gov. Hugh Carey of New York for nine years, went to Harvard Business School. In 1981 he told TCI president John Malone that he would work for TCI for 90 days for free and that if Malone didn't like him he would leave. He was there for almost 20 years. Barton helped devise and execute the strategy of scale economics that enabled TCI to grow enormously during the 1980s, at first by buying small cable systems and later by buying out the franchises in larger cities. As TCI began to move into programming ownership, Barton headed up Cable Value Network, driving it from startup to $1 billion in sales and 4,600 employees in two and a half years. He then returned to TCI to take over the programming division, redoing most of TCI's contracts with programming suppliers. This led to the formation of Liberty Media, a spin-off company that took on many of the assets of TCI that were not given much value by stock analysts. By doing a deal every ten days for six years, Barton transformed a collection of undervalued assets into a company that dominated the cable programming arena before it merged back into TCI in the mid 1990s. In his oral history, Barton outlines some of the most innovative financial maneuverings in US business history and gives insight into the thinking of his boss, John Malone, and many of his colleagues such as Marvin Jones and JC Sparkman.
URL: http://www.cablecenter.org/education/library/oralHistoryDetails.cfm?id=55
Original Language: English
Video: [Video available]
Audio: [Audio available]
Time span: Not indicated ... to 1999 (Year of interview)
Speaker: Barton, Peter
Speaker gender: Male
Document date: Mar-1999
Interviewer: Keller, Jim
Locations discussed: North America; United States
Topics discussed - ASP terms: Broadcasting; Cable television--United States; North America; Oral history; Public broadcasting; Television; Television programs; United States
Topics discussed - Other terms: Cable administrators
ASP release: 2005-06
Document code: OHI0022679-24069