VOD at CAB in ATL The mood at this week’s Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau annual conference in Atlanta was surprisingly convivial, given that operators and programmers shared the dais to discuss On Demand programming (and ad sales) platforms. Typically a heated topic on National Show panels, CAB’s presidents panel was particularly refreshing for its show of candor and cooperation (Cfax 5/3). First came the obligatory chatter about bottom lines and the importance of network brands to drive viewers to a non-linear viewing experience. Then Comcast COO Steve Burke set the tone for the rest of the panel when he admitted that—scores of press releases from Philly and his recent VOD upfront notwithstanding—his On Demand programming stands to get lost (to desperate housewives?) without more network hit series. "Satellite has HBO but our HBO is better than satellite’s because you can watch "The Sopranos" anytime you want to watch it," he said. "But I also think we’re in the very early innings. I think we have a product that can get significantly better." Comcast now has CBS and NBC hits, and is this close to deals with Fox and ABC. The key? Let ’em keep their ad revenue. The former CBS exec seated to Burke’s left was none too excited about participating in cable’s VOD dreams at one time. Discovery’s Billy Campbell recalled his initial reaction to cable operators’ desire for his content as "fearful." "We were scared of cannibalization," he confessed. Fast forward to today. Campbell now is hyped about original VOD content to drive viewers to key programs such as Lance Armstrong’s special on cancer and Ted Koppel’s first Discovery doc, tentatively slated for Sept. "Through much better conversations and collaboration and partnership, we’ve learned a lot," Campbell said. "What we are now saying is, ‘Let’s make sure we put our best [programming] on there.’" Best of all, advertisers’ thirst for VOD is creating opportunities for programmers and operators. Scripps CEO (and VOD early adopter) Ken Lowe had the last word. "You can’t sit still…there’s only one way to coast, and that’s downhill." -SB Worth a Look "THS: That ’70s Show,"Sun, 8pm, E! Mila Kunis was 14 when she kissed Ashton Kutcher. "He couldn’t have been nicer," she says. — "Where’s There’s a Will," tomorrow, 9pm ET, Hallmark. Marion Ross as you’ve never seen her (did we really write that?) — "Kathy Griffin Strong Black Woman," Tues, 9pm, Bravo. Griffin’s standup brings grins, but no belly laughs as she whacks nearly everyone in Hollywood, including E! and Oprah, "who was so pompous when she lost weight that every pound she gains now is like a hug from Jesus." – "Behind the Music: Ratt," Thurs, 9pm, VH1. This hair-today-gone-tomorrow look at Ratt’s hard rise and even harder fall is good watching, guest reviewer Mark Cavich writes. See what a 24-7-365 hangover can do to talent. SA Of Note "Big Break V," Tues, 9pm ET, Golf Channel. Finale. — "Braves at Mets," tonight, 7ET, TBS. Ya gotta believe. – "Glenn Beck," Mon, 7pm, Headline. Debut of radio personality’s talker. – "Inside the Actor’s Studio," Sun, 9pm, Bravo. Season premiere. – "Big Love," Sun, 10pm, HBO. This quirky series is hitting its stride. The message from this week’s ep: credit card debt can destroy orgasmic afterglow. SA

The Daily


Internationally Speaking

The NHL is going global. That seven-year Disney – ESPN deal announced in March includes the right to bring games to 109 countries beginning with the 2021-22 season. Coverage will appear across Disney’s ESPN

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