So, in mid-2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission has asked telecommunications firms – including telephone, long distance, cable and satellite companies – how they count customers. Gosh. What a great step forward for regulators. What an astonishing concept: accountability and uniformity in accounting. Would that some regulator had done that in the early stages of the last stock market bubble. Ah, I suppose I shouldn’t make too much fun of them … or us. We all knew that the "old" Adelphia "system" for counting "subscribers" was not necessarily accurate. But we didn’t do much about it except include them in discussions about uniformity in definitions (at least that was something). And there is, after all, a reason that Media Audits Int’l and Cable Audits exist. Which brings to mind one of the more significant things the late President Ronald Reagan said, he used a Russian quote, "Doveryai, no proveryai," "Trust, but verify." So here’s another chance to send (deserved) plaudits to Insight’s Michael Willner (on stage next week with Char Beales at the CTAM Summit) for his prescience in attacking the problem on cable’s behalf while he was NCTA chairman. As a few dissonant voices overlooked, Willner’s task was undertaken during the soon-to-be ending tenure of NCTA pres Robert Sachs, and is another of the reasons that – despite looming issues not easily handled or solved – cable is in pretty good shape on Capitol Hill and inside the Beltway. This routine inquiry should be an interesting exercise … and perhaps some real numbers about everything will become available someday. Random Notes:

  • Positively Cable Early Prep: They won’t hit the stage until November 11, but it’s time now to think about the 10th annual (I was in a few early on) musical satire held in Denver. For sponsorship info: Zelda.Martens@Adelphia.com or dbarackman@indemand.com.

     

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Maine A la Carte Case Dies

Maine is no longer fighting to enact a law that would force cable operators to make video channels (and individual programs) available to consumers on an a la carte basis.

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