One thing was certain at the Cable Show’s opening general session: it’s good to be the King. Still giddy from stellar Q1 results, MSO chiefs projected an aura of confidence that cable will continue to exceed expectations and grow handily for at least the next several years. "We’re going to come out ahead in the competitive balance," said Comcast COO Steve Burke, noting that 55% of Comcast’s net broadband adds are from ex-DSL customers despite telcos’ steep price cuts. Time Warner Cable pres/CEO Glenn Britt said competition "really made all of us better… that’s why you see the great results." Panelists agreed, however, that cable needs to be careful not to overextend itself as it rolls out new services. "None of these things happen overnight," said Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge, adding that the wireless strategy "isn’t that clear to us." Burke agreed that "it’s very hard to do 5 new businesses at the same time" and said it would be a "huge mistake" to take on wireless while so busy signing up triple play customers. Said Britt: "The hardest thing to do is to pace it so we don’t overwhelm our employees. You can really mess those businesses up if you go too fast." Aryeh Bourkoff, vice chmn, technology, media and telecoms investment banking, UBS Investment Research, said he thinks cable will tackle commercial services before wireless. Burke cited other big opportunities in other areas such as broadband content and said Comcast expects its recent deal with Yahoo! to yield "over a billion dollars in the next 6 years." He also said VOD is only in the "3rd or 4th inning in terms of what it could be," noting that big movies like "Spiderman 3" could conceivably be released simultaneously on VOD and in theaters—assuming they can offer it in a way that doesn’t kill the theater business. "It’s our job to give people what they want, and anyone who doesn’t do that is going to be left behind."

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