Always makes me wonder when I read those three words together… once upon I time, I did know what that meant: a community antenna system with some nascent exclusive program providers. But that industry grew up… and became a number of industries that defied conventional wisdom—not just once, but often.
On the one hand, that community antenna (you know, the one the free, over-the-air broadcasters think subscribers should have to pay for again and again and again instead of the that one-time buy of rabbit ears or a roof-top antenna) kept adding bandwidth capabilities and kept inventing more and more uses for all that bandwidth: more programming (NOTE: the industry certainly answered the promises of "The Wired Nation), two-way whatever and then, Holy Grail!, the Internet faster than the speed of a billion dial-ups!
But that programming that got created… it wound up a separate—but complementary, synergistic and parasitical all at once—business.
Then came broadband and the wild, wild, west and the winds of change.
And the infrastructure part of the cable industry became a smart (very, very smart) pipe.
And the programmers welcomed (embraced, wooed and certainly got in bed with) the direct to home satellite industry and then—and then!—the telephone industry as it tried to metamorphose into an even smarter pipe.
Which raises some questions? Is "connectivity" the base business of these platforms? Is "content" a different business? Can one live without the other? Does the Internet change the rules to allow for the complete splintering of these businesses?
Last week’s CTAM resulted in a number of stories raising that question from a parlor game to an almost real world situation: or, to put it bluntly, will the dual revenue streams of "classic" cable television linear networks survive? Can the payment of subscriber fees by cable operators (pipelines?) last longer as a business model than networks paying carriage fees to local broadcasters did? Just asking.
But if I were you, I’d be doing a lot of different business modeling exercises. And I’d think long and hard about disintermediation and where and when such things tend to happen.
* Mixed Emotions: Love it that Heedless Hundt is in the news and on the President-elect’s transition team because he was always so much fun to write about… but, OMG! I hope he doesn’t wind up in charge of anything… anything at all! Then again, it might give him another chance to try to rig the process—I’d imagine he’d be a smarter bidder next time, wouldn’t you?
* Belay That? Ummm… but he sure wasn’t as bad as the current Chairman Kevin Martian. Did anybody (besides Seth Davidson) notice his NASCAR car crashed and burned… again? Think it might be a metaphor for his tenure? I’d like to think so.
* The Global Economy and the Weekend: The so-called G20 met over the weekend—this goes to press too early to know what happened and if it produced anything more than a few sound bites ("Another Bretton Woods? Nope, More Like a Bretton Woodshed!"… "The End of Globalization? Nope, More Like, Well?"). And while I well know that there is only one American President at a time, well, would’ve been nice if the new guy’s economic team could have attended as observers… and done a lot of backroom discussing. Jan 20 is the date—better than March (as it was until the1930s).