Paul Maxwell speaks more clearly than most cable commentators on the subject of forced video buy-through in his column "The Future of Programming?" in the Jan. 5 issue of CableWORLD. He states, "Cable is systematically abandoning the programming high ground to satellite competitors. (Even to the point of not understanding the backward thinking of forced buy-through to get to wanted tiers.)" Paul puts his finger on one of the most important inflection points in today’s multichannel broadcasting business. Cable operators don’t want to give up the easy life of forced buy-through and enter into the competitive waters of offering digital tiers…to reach niche audiences the same way magazines have had to do for decades. Our research (about triple-play strategies) shows offering small digital tiers with an SVOD option without forced buy-through can actually strengthen an MSO’s video positioning against satellite. If cable doesn’t abandon forced buy-through, satellite (and its friends, the RBOCs) probably will. Gary Schultz
Principal Analyst/President
MRG, Inc. (Multimedia Research Group, Inc.)
Sunnyvale, CA

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