Commentary By Paul S. Maxwell OK, We’re Guilty… As an industry… of a lot things. Like changing the world. For the better. We (that is, the “cable” industry) have added to the world:

  • More than three TV channels from which to choose… in fact, hundreds.
  • Better TV reception.
  • TV reception where over-the-air couldn’t be received.
  • News… 24/7 (CNN, CNNHL, CNNI, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg not to mention all the follow-on international news networks).
  • Politics in the open (C-SPAN and in some states as well as all of those local city council proceedings).
  • True programming diversity… from BET to TV One to SiTV and more.
  • Not to mention great show such as “The Sopranos” and “Planet Earth” (absolutely astounding) and “Galapagos” (OK, biased; on our way there next month) and “The Tudors” and “The Closer” and “The Shield” and “Monk”… and lots, lots more.
  • More and better kids’ content… from Nickelodeon to Sprout and beyond.
  • More and better sports coverage… from ESPN to CSTV to the RSNs to GOL TV and… even those pesky league channels.
  • Lots and lots and lots of reruns!
  • 1st use of satellites to distribute programming.
  • Think DBS would do as well if it didn’t have “cable” programming? It was cable operators taking a chance (and some upside, of course) that got that initial distribution and launched a much more robust programming industry. Not to mention the latest copycat entries from telcos…
  • Broadband connectivity deployment superior to any other.
  • A better telephony deal for consumers and small businesses.
  • VOD–free and for a fee–check out (here comes full disclosure… these guys are friends and I care and I might join Stan Hitchcock for a song) the BlueHighways TV guys (now linear, too) at the show and (coming soon) The Ski Channel VOD (Steve is at the ski show instead).
  • Commercial-free TV (OK, pay TV).
  • Parental controls.

So why do we keep getting punished? Why do issues such as multicast must carry keep coming up? Or a la carte? Or let’s help Ed Whitacre earn his retirement pension? Maybe we’ll find out at one pm today in Ballroom J at the Mandalay Bay. But probably not. While it ain’t exactly Daniel in the Lions’ Den, it is, I suppose, “brave” of Federal Confusion Commission chmn Kevin Martin(et) to come speak to the NCTA… presuming, of course, that he doesn’t show up with 15,000 summons. It will be interesting… But I do wish that Char Beales‘ panel following could be real instead of couched in earnest rhetoric post-Martin. Would be nice to hear what Glenn Britt, Steve Burke and Tom Rutledge really think… but then, I bet I know. See you there. And CableFAX will be there every day… Random Notes

  • Crowded? Nah. Joining us in Vegas are several meetings, including 60,000+ at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show… to which, thanks to Scripps Networks, you can go gawk at for free… but don’t try to sneak out any of the silverware.
  • Where’s Ralph? Baruch, that is. Find out in “My Back Pages” in the show edition of CableWorld. Hell of a guy, hell of a life, pretty good book. Buy it and read it (I get a 20% kickback… ah, but if you know Ralph, you’ll know I’m kidding).

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Programming

ESPN is activating its MegaCast production for the NFL Wild Card presentation (taking place Jan 9 or 10). ESPN and ABC will simulcast the Wild Card game, and ESPN2 and Freeform

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