Budget Season… About now, every operator is being asked to project subscriber growth for the 2008 budgets. Don’t be too quick to be too bullish. That subprime mess is going to impact you. Negatively. While cable has always had the reputation of surviving recessions with subscriber gains—after all, cable remains, despite the Federal Confusion Commission’s best efforts, an entertainment bargain. But not this recession. And there will be one. Nineteen out of fifty-two economists say so. Up from less than a dozen a few weeks ago. That subprime mess hits right at household development and growth. Some neighborhoods are so foreclosed that up to 25% of homes are empty. And in this coming recession, there’s a new dynamic… a mature direct broadcast satellite industry and growing telco competition. Meanwhile, some five million adjustable rate mortgages are going to reset—higher, of course—in the next 18 months. Just last week, almost 60% of mortgage brokers were unable to refinance ARM holders. If job creation doesn’t rebound fast, a recession will happen closer than even the bears predict. A third of scheduled home closings were cancelled in Aug. So budget accordingly. Random Notes
- Diversity Week: New York. 24th Annual Kaitz Foundation dinner. 21st Annual NAMIC conference. Almost a quarter century of promoting diversity. Maybe we’ll get it right some day. In the meantime, NAMIC has a stellar lineup today and tomorrow and Kaitz is bestowing a couple of deserving awards. Our good friend, ESPN/ABC Sport’s George Bodenheimer, is accepting for his company’s efforts (the efforts show, especially, but not only, on camera). Martin Luther King III is presenting the Diversity Advocate Award to 12-term Brooklyn Congressman Edolphus Towns. Towns, a member of the House telecom/Internet subcommittee, has sponsored a bill to create the Telecommunications Development Fund to help jump start minority telecom enterprises—good idea. I’m really looking forward to one of my favorite evenings: A&E at the Rainbow Room and a play Tuesday.
- 24th Dinner! Wow. It was Ray Joslin’s idea. After the Kaitz Foundation was created after Walter’s funeral, a board was created and we needed to find a way to add to the money that Bill Daniels, Amos Hostetter, Ray and others had contributed. I was supposed to promote it and help coerce table buyers. Ray recruited Ralph Baruch to chair the first dinner. About 300 of us helped Ray move around (he had made a mess of his legs with a backhoe) while Tom Wheeler exhorted the industry to pay attention to diversity. We’ve been trying… sometimes better than other times.
- Quotes: Got a release promoting the NFL Net’s Gameday with quotes from the hosts… ain’t got room to run ’em, but they are memorable… try asking for your copy from MasonsonD@NFL.com.
- More Awards: Be in New York two weeks running… Discovery’s David Zaslav gets the 2007 Trustees Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences next Sun night. The Academy’s Management Hall of Fame also welcomes the great Roger Ogden, Bill Baker and Lawrence Pollock.
- Speaking of NAMIC: Tom Southwick and I are going to be “lifeline” aids for the NAMIC team at the Cable Center’s trivia contest during Hall of Fame week in Denver (Oct 10 for trivia; 11 for Hall). And, if we don’t know the answers, we’ll make ’em up. Don’t know who’s going to be helping the WICT and/or CTAM teams yet.