When pressed for information, Tom Jermoluk, chief executive of @Home Network Inc, was tight-lipped about his company’s fortunes at the Web Market East forum in New York on Tuesday, explaining that now that the company is public (CI No 3,201), he can hide behind the SEC, when it comes to matters of revenue. When questioned about subscriber numbers, Jermoluk side-stepped again, saying that the cable companies that @Home has partnered with own the subscriber numbers. He was quick to defend @Home’s position in the world of interactive media, however, stressing that his company is not in competition with the likes of America Online Inc, or Microsoft Corp and its partner Web TV Networks Inc. Rather, he sees them as potential partners who can provide the content and the platform that will make @Home’s internet-over- cable model take off. Besides, he pointed out, @Home has exclusive contracts with the cable operating companies that control about 50% of the cable-ready homes in the US, so nobody else can move in. As for the cable companies themselves, Jermoluk says they pose no threat to @Home because while they would probably like to keep @Home’s business for themselves, they simply cannot offer the technology and focus necessary to carry it off. Instead, @Home feels that its only competition might eventually come from telephone companies, the other entities with the pipes in place to offer something similar – but even that possibility doesn’t seem to faze Jermoluk.
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