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Now that we’re all away from the lobster rolls and convention center chaos, it’s time to reflect on what Cable Show 2012 taught us—besides that MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews is really loud. 1. Collaboration is center stage. It wasn’t just the announcement that 5 operators (and maybe more down the road) would be linking up free WiFi for customers, although that was a biggie. But there was just a general sense of working with technologies and companies, instead of against them. Take Cox pres Pat Esser‘s comments that 40% of his HSD customers had a Netflix stream in March, and his recognition that it’s something important to deliver to his subs. No more hand-wringing about how OTT might eat everyone’s lunch. Add to that Comcast jumping in as the 1st MVPD partner for Verizon Wireless’ mobile search portal. There seemed to be fewer questions about how to meet consumers’ demands and more of a focus on just doing it. "This year’s Cable Show didn’t disappoint—in other words, the [Cable] Union seems to be STRONG. They’re co-marketing Wi-Fi. They’re (finally) offering wireless without spending an incremental penny on a network. And that was before things even heated up. The show was, at least in Cable Show terms, a packed event," wrote ISI Media‘s research team. 2. The show floor has a different vibe. Noticeably missing this year from the floor were the Viacom nets. But the 275 exhibitors were on par with the 280 in Chicago (L.A. boasted 345, but that included the very large "My World" exhibit). The booth star power seemed a bit dimmer (seriously, could P Diddy not get away to promote his upcoming cable net Revolt?). The crowd also was a little thinner (12K in Boston vs 13K in Chicago ’11 and L.A. ’10) But the changing floor dynamic isn’t all bad. Never a booth babe bonanza like CES, we only spotted a few at smaller booths. In ’08, then- MTVN chmn/CEO Judy McGrath lamented that she’d like to walk the floor and "not see a half-naked woman sitting in a martini glass." Her wish has come true, with booth babes appearing to have gone the way of analog TV sets. Instead, the floor featured Harvard and Columbia debate teams, courtesy of Halogen. Smarty pants vs. hot pants. We like it. 3. Comcast has the pedal all the way to the floor. Comcast used the event to make several big announcements, from WiFi phone service to its X1 enhancements and its Project Dayview interactive dashboard linking multiple devices to Xfinity. "Clearly leading the sector in cable innovation, Comcast should be able to monetize its investment in X-1 (the platform designed for cloud-based UI to all home devices) and Streampix (its streaming service) with lower churn and higher ARPU," wrote Canaccord’s Tom Eagan. Wells Fargo‘s Marci Ryvicker said it simply: "Comcast gets it." 4. Usage-based pricing is inevitable. FCC chmn Julius Genachowski delivered that memo by throwing his support behind the business model during his Q&A with NCTA head Michael Powell. 5. Boston is a nice venue for the show. We heard this from just about every attendee. Please bring it back there, NCTA!

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