Light Reading? One side "benefit" of sitting on too many long airplane rides is the "opportunity" to read lots of other stuff. So, on the way home from CTAM and after skimming every newspaper available at Dulles, I was reading Scientific American (July’s edition, been in my backpack for a few weeks). That’s the magazine that had first informed me about lasers, fiber optics, WiFi and WiMAX, so I often skim it for updates and tips on the next big information technology "thing." Now it’s "encoded light transmissions." Or, more specifically, "optical wireless local-area networks." So now light waves (maybe even from new LED bulbs overhead!) can allow for super high speed broadband access to/from mobile digital devices indoors… in the same room anyway (no going through walls so no piracy/access problems). Other benefits include better bandwidth, less or no interference among/between multiple users (photons don’t interfere with one another as do radio frequencies). Light me up! Turn me on! Beam me up, Scottie! Random Notes
- Green Cards? Not the immigration debate… but "green" key cards at CTAM hotels advertising Discovery’s upcoming (and pretty cool positioning) Planet Green. But the cards aren’t recyclable. Oh well. As one of those Sesame Street characters noted years ago, ain’t easy being green.
- Skittish Markets: Very. And not just because of mixed reports from MSOs. The whole stock market is approaching an increasingly shaky time. But why did Comcast lose basic subs? Maybe it is because cable’s product mix is getting more complicated? And, as everyone knows, none of us can multitask as well as our kids. Then again, maybe it is time to begin to rethink the bundle. Without eliminating (or even relegating it to second place) that focus, perhaps it is time to create more dedicated product managers for each segment of the "cable" business: basic, digital, expanded, VOD, pay, PPV, VoIP, expanded VoIP, broadband, tiered broadband… and so on with a focus on upselling? Major MSOs structured a bit in this manner to launch VoIP and are doing so for business services… so why not for every line of business? Seems to me that will shortly become the trend… and that will bring with it the need for more sophisticated, on- the-ground competitive information. With the growth of telco video and the continued development of satellite (especially with its HD emphasis), cable will find itself in zero sum subscriber games in more and more markets.
- Printless Future? Fortune (8/06) wonders about newspaper futures in a piece about Don Graham and the Washington Post Co. Rupert Murdoch wants Dow Jones and is willing to overpay and invest in a brand, not newsprint. (Of course, he’s got other brand products in supermarkets). BusinessWeek (8/06) columnist Jon Fine thinks the Sulzbergers should take The New York Times Co private. And there are rumors circulating around Reed about Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News (my friend Larry Dunn says it’s "just a reorganization")—not to mention some of the other periodicals. But, you know, anyone can count ads. And they don’t look so robust in Fortune or BusinessWeek either. The real problem: not one of us has truly figured out how to get you to continue to pay for all the work that goes into gathering, reporting and packaging the news you depend upon to run your companies. Simply aggregating ain’t gonna work when there’s no one left to really do the editing.