Like many, I was experiencing the high that follows the National Show (OK, The Cable Show), after the exhaustion wore off.
If part of the show’s reason for being is to get people in the cable industry excited about being in the cable industry, then mission accomplished. The springtime spring in cable’s step that Kyle McSlarrow spoke about (CableWorld, May 7) was evident early in Las Vegas when panelists spoke of monstrous Comcast’s monstrously strong first quarter. The message, while polite, was direct. Cable said to DBS and the telcos, "We’re ready, bring it on." The high lingered through the show’s final day, infecting even level-headed columnists like Steve Effros of CableFAX Daily. His column the day after the show’s finale was a paean. Cable is "in the catbird seat," Effros wrote.
You come back down to Earth fast, though. One week after the closing party featured a full-throated Mike Grebb (see page 7), the U of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index sang a more dissonant tune. It put cable (and DBS) last among the 40-plus industries it rates. Even the airlines did better.
The Cable Show boasted a record 87 panels; some were excellent. Just one was devoted to customer service — at 8 a.m. on the final day.
This reminded me of something Jim Robbins said (CableWorld, Oct. 9, 2006) when asked about competing against the telcos. "At the end of the day," Robbins said, "we’re all going to have the same programming, the same hardware. The differentiator is how you treat your customer… Easy to say, hard to do." Someone’s listening. Comcast Cable chief Steve Burke, during a general session, mentioned Comcast soon would be launching a customer service initiative. Good show.
Cover subject David Zaslav is a familiar face, especially to our readers. He joins the exclusive club of those who’ve thrice adorned our cover. And this issue adds the familiar byline of cable ace Denise Martin (page 22). We couldn’t be prouder.