It was just a bit more than 10 years ago that the first direct-to-home direct-broadcast-satellite mini-dish was sold in Albuquerque, New Mexico, by Cowboy Maloney for DirecTV. Not long after, SkyFORUM debuted. And, I started writing about how satellite had taken the best of cable-developed video and out-packaged, out-marketed and, when it came to new multichannel video subscribers, out-sold cable TV. But not many of you listened. Not many of you went to the semi-annual SkyFORUMs, either. You might have learned quite a bit about how to compete … It has taken almost a decade for cable TV to focus on that concept: COMPETITION. It sure done got real out there, didn’t it? As Adelphia’s Ron Cooper commented the other day in Denver, "Cable faces a well-financed competitor" in every single line of cable’s business. From video to high-speed Internet access to telephony to video-on-demand to PPV to Hi-Def to you name it. Therefore (DUH!), cable has to get smart … because the competition is going to get tougher. Another SkyFORUM is this week (tomorrow at the Waldorf, lousy room though, in New York; might be the last one as the sponsoring association seems to be coming apart at the seams). Maybe the soon-to-be-completely-red, white and blue News Corp will leak a few initiatives (maybe not). No "echo" is scheduled, but you never know. From the beginning of alternate delivery systems, programmers – especially the ones cable systems initially jump-started – have been a major part of the offerings by DTH companies … Maybe cable could have paid a little more attention to its video packaging and offerings a decade ago. Ah, but never too late, is it? Also this week is the T. Howard Foundation (run by our friend Curtis Symonds) dinner … a worthwhile event Wednesday evening at Cipriani’s … even if it is for the satellite industry (turns out it is mostly a programmer and programmer-supported activity). Honorees are John Sie and Sheila C. Johnson. Usually a fine event. Random Notes

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Big3, Verizon Team Up

Ice Cube ’s three-on-three basketball league Big3 and Verizon are getting into the game together. Through the rest of the season, Verizon will have on-court signage and present a

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