This summer, all eyes will be on London…and potentially on iPads, Kindle Fires, smartphones, any portable device that can keep sports fans connected. If there’s a litmus test of the interest in TV viewing on mobile devices, Summer 2012 is it. Behind it all are the Summer Olympic Games, set for July 27-Aug. 12 in London.

In March, NCTC told the industry that, through an agreement with NCTC member company Massillon Cable TV Inc., the association developed an authentication Web portal for members seeking to provide “TV Everywhere” (TVE) content. The portal, www.WatchTVEverywhere.com (WTVE), is not limited to members authorized to carry NBC content, though that is the initial focus. WTVE can be used as a platform for additional TVE programming content provided by networks that are in active discussions with NCTC at the current time. NCTC also is expected to announce additional TVE platforms this summer. (Editor’s note: NBC Sports says it will offer more than 5,500 hours of Olympics coverage this summer (including live streaming of every event online), which works out to 291 hours per day. The network also will offer taped and packaged coverage in primetime along with increased coverage during daytime hours, starting at 10 a.m. ET/PT on weekdays and earlier on weekends.)

How NCTC is helping members offer TVE will be addressed during one of the panels scheduled for the 2012 Independent Show, set for July 22-25 in Orlando. This year’s show will feature eight educational sessions plus two meetings exclusively for the members of the American Cable Association (ACA) and the NCTC, the show’s co-hosts. In addition, members can spend five hours on the exhibit floor, meeting with the many suppliers and programmers that do business with the NCTC.

In a feature virtually unique to this show, family attendance both is encouraged and welcome. Family events are planned throughout the conference. On Monday evening (July 23), Disney and ESPN Media Networks will host families at the House of Blues for music and entertainment. On Tuesday evenning (July 24), NBCUniversal will host a London-themed party for members. The conference ends with a golf tournament sponsored by Golf Channel on Wednesday afternoon (July 25) for members, programmers and suppliers attending the show.

Reg/Leg Info

The ACA will lead two key sessions at The Independent Show plus a members-only meeting to elect new board members and to conduct association business. One of the key challenges facing independent operators is the cost of programming, and ACA will investigate how politicians and regulators may play into this growing concern.

Efforts are underway in Washington, D.C., to consider current video programming issues; price, terms and carriage conditions are central to the debate.  Several important rulemakings are in progress at the Federal Communications Commission, and Congress is engaged in a series of hearings that could lead to the beginning of a reform effort in 2013. With new entrants and changes in technology, not to mention what the ACA notes is the disastrous impact of two-decade-old retransmission consent rules, the move for reform is more committed than ever.  However, as reform efforts move forward, what could “change” really mean for independent cable operators?  That question will be the focal point of another ACA panel at The Independent Show.

Following the ACA discussion on programming costs, attention will turn to the views of operators and programmers during a NCTC-hosted session on Wednesday, July 25. While wholesale license fees continue their climb, programmers seek more distribution and better service-level placement. Customers are voting with their checkbooks, and they are cost-conscious. NCTC will be hosting a session that will allow programmers some stage time to explain their positions and to answer member questions.

With the pressure on programming costs, independent operators are looking at other revenue sources, and a key area for growth is business services. Attendees at this year’s meeting will hear how ACA and NCTC members have developed and implemented plans to serve local businesses.

And for the second year, videos of all the educational sessions will be posted online for NCTC and ACA members. Surveys in past years have indicated that, for many small operators, time out of the office is difficult; by posting the session videos for viewing at no charge, members unable to attend the meeting in person still can experience the benefits of the panel discussions.

Attendance at The Independent Show is limited to ACA and NCTC member companies plus invited programmers and suppliers. While the majority of exhibitors are companies under contract with or in a business relationship with NCTC or ACA, limited space is reserved for associate exhibitors that may not yet have an agreement but that offer a valuable service to independent operators.

Companies seeking additional information about The Independent Show can review online information at www.nctconline.org/tis.

Contact Dan Mulvenon at dmulvenon@nctconline.org.

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