The Cable Show’s Co-Chairmen give thumbs up to Connection Week, talk 3D and TV Everywhere.
CFAX: What will be the buzz at this year’s Cable Show?
Matt Blank, Chairman/CEO, Showtime Networks Inc: It’s kind of the cable industry meets the entertainment industry meets technology, Silicon Valley. I think this will be a very flashy show.
Glenn Britt, Chairman, President, CEO, Time Warner Cable: One of the things we’re doing, which I think is a really important part of the show, is an area called My World: Powered by Cable. It’s really meant to show what cable is doing and what we can do. Visitors are going to be able to go through a virtual world of buildings and neighborhoods and living spaces that we bring to life through the things that we do. We’re going to teach you things like multiplatform, time- and place-shifted TV.
CFAX: Which has more potential for the industry — 3D TV or TV Everywhere?
GB: 3D TV is in sort of the same bucket as HDTV. Before that we went from black and white to color. It’s a similar transition. If consumers decide they like 3D we’ll pursue that with the programmers. But I think it’s way too early to tell — it’s not something that will happen overnight in terms of a mass consumer thing.
TV Everywhere is really a whole different thing. We think that if you look at the world of video entertainment, consumers ultimately want what we all want — the 4 "anys." They want access to anything, any time, on any device. The final "any" is any place. The idea of TV Everywhere is very simple. It’s ultimately to allow people to buy one subscription and to get that functionality I just described. The technology is there to do that. Certainly business structures and copyright deals and all of that are not in place.
MB: I think you’ll probably see a quicker rollout of TV Everywhere in terms of television use than 3D, just because of the equipment requirements and production requirements of 3D.
CFAX: Is The Cable Show less important than it used to be?
GB: I don’t think so. Although the flavor of the show has changed a little bit [from] the late 70s and 80s, when so many new program services were being created; the floor of the show then was probably dominated by new program networks. There was a certain excitement about that that people might remember with nostalgia. Actually, before that era the show was probably dominated by hardware providers. And I think in a way now the excitement about the show is once again more about technology.
CFAX: Has the Cable Connection concept of combining events into one week in the spring and fall worked?
GB: I think it’s worked partially. There’s going to be a Diversity Week in New York again, so we’ve changed from just the two weeks. You try things and you adjust as you need to. But some of the other things, we’re much better off as an industry having done what we’ve done. I think this particular show and this particular week have provided a big tent for all the groups meeting this week, whether it’s WICT, CableLabs, CTAM. It’s a more efficient way to do it than spreading it throughout the year.
MB: We certainly had a few bumps in the road, but I think it’s working. I think it’s dealing with some of the main concerns that we had as an industry, which were too many events, too many people traveling and too many different places for events. Hopefully we have a better chance of getting the people who are really important, who really matter, to the important events during the course of the year.