The irony of writing a column for the final issue of CableWorld is not lost on me, or on anyone who knows that I had spent from 1990 to 2005 trying to beat down its very being while I was editor in chief of Multichannel News.
Those were heady, crazy times indeed, cranking out 200-page issues around Thanksgiving for the now-departed Western Show. If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t believe that page count I just cited, given how thin all the trades are today.
I’ve had the pleasure of writing a column for CableWorld since April 2007, and can’t tell you what a wonderful if oh-so-short-lived ride it has been. Even my former colleagues at Multichannel News were saddened when they heard about the demise of CableWorld.
Why? As the industry those publications cover has already learned, they too know that competition is good for business and simply forces you to do a better job. Cable didn’t wake up and pay much attention to customer service, for example, until DBS and, later, the phone companies forced it to be a more nimble provider of not only video, but also telephone and high-speed access to the Internet.
CableWorld is the latest unintended consequence of the consolidation dance that began in earnest during “the summer of love” in 1997, a phrase used back then by Tele-Communications CEO Leo Hindery, who was prepping for the sale of what was then the largest MSO to AT&T.
After that, consolidation occurred rapidly on the distribution side and soon spread to programmers and other suppliers of services to cable MSOs. That consolidation also spread to the trade press. In 2001, I felt like the grim reaper presiding over the death of CableVision magazine as it was folded into the belly of Multichannel News. Likewise, Broadband Week, a publication that sprang from the loins of Multichannel News, soon became a technology department back in the mother-ship where it was conceived.
At all companies that experience consolidation the inevitable happens—“reduction in head count,” as the suits say when referring to letting go people who occupy so-called redundant positions. Sad, bad stuff, but that’s life in the broadband jungle.
Here at CableWorld—bearing in mind I’m only a columnist in this rock and roll band—the publication’s signature annual issues will be folded into CableFAX Magazine, which will complement its sister publication, CableFAX Daily. I’m happy to hear that Seth Arenstein and Steve Goldstein, my two buds at CableWorld, will help raise that new baby, which will come out six times a year. They will also be overseeing Cable360, the Web portal for those and other Access Intelligence products.
As for me, well, I remain a hired gun on this spit of sand called Cape Cod. So keep on clamming. I am.
Veteran cable journalist Marianne Paskowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-255-1901. She welcomes reader input, benign or malignant.