Cable executive prophecies for the coming year run the gamut, from convergence to HD to telephony. Here’s a sampling of what some industry players see on the horizon for ’07, both the challenges and the opportunities:
NBCU TV Networks distribution president Bridget Baker:
Cable’s ’07 challenges are ‘good problems to have.’ Cable’s high-speed connections to the home have helped contribute to the success of YouTube and MySpace. Cable is well positioned and profitable in delivering broadband, as well as in their core video offerings. 2007 will be the year to deliver great HD product, more advanced services, and meaningful packages. Keep your focus on the customer and your eye on the competition.
HDNet CEO Mark Cuban:
This could be the year that distributors begin to partner with PC and even gaming console manufacturers to allow them to be set-top box compatible.
Charter EVP, COO Mike Lovett:
We have 365 days in 2007 to continue demonstrating that our industry is providing great value to our customers. It’s always helpful when looking forward, to look back and see what went well in the year past. Telephone customers grew at an unprecedented rate and there is solid proof that combining our services into bundled offerings increases the value proposition across all product lines. That, combined with quality customer service, provides us with a great competitive advantage. The industry has had a solid year and momentum is building as we begin 2007. It will be a year in which we expect continued growth in our residential telephone business, and Charter will also be working toward expanding our video, high-speed Internet and telephone services to the business community.
The Carmel Group chmn Jimmy Schaeffler:
1) M&A market continues red hot.
2) John Malone replaces DirecTV management with one that better fits Liberty style and culture.
3) TiVo and Sling Media get acquired.
4) EchoStar goes private.
5) AT&T and Verizon both exceed projections for subscribers as of year-end 2007.
6) Cable industry continues to lose overall subscriber market share relative to DBS and telcos.
Crown pres/CEO Henry Schleiff:
In my judgment, the greatest challenges facing the industry concern the threat of government regulation in a variety of areas. Most notably, perhaps, we should be concerned about the FCC or other regulatory authorities getting involved in issues of content and concomitantly unwanted, let alone, unconstitutional censorship. To prevent this, we need to do a better job of policing ourselves, understanding what is appropriate for our respective audiences as well as highlighting the family friendly services that exist on cable today.
For more cable crystal ball gazing, be sure to check out the Jan. 8th issue of CableWorld!