Kudos to CTAM NY for rounding up execs from cable, satellite and telco to talk strategy, competition, and about challenges the future will bring. Attendees at yesterday’s breakfast in NYC got a clearer picture of how the 3 will compete with each other. — DBS: DirecTV’s answer to cable’s robust VOD offerings will debut next month. It plans to devote 60 hrs of the box’s 160-hr capacity to pushing content consumers can pull down and watch at will (aka "DBS VOD"). Although DirecTV has kept an eye on cable’s bundled products, "VOD competition has never concerned me that much," Dan Hartman, vp, programming and acquisitions, told the crowd. An aggressive HD strategy, a big focus on Spanish language and intl programming and exclusive content are other parts of DirecTV’s strategy, he said. Telco: Verizon’s plan includes making advanced digital services available to every home, creating a national content lineup and opportunities for content providers to stay more in tune with customers at the local level. Verizon will market DVRs, HD and interactivity, but it’s not necessarily looking to push the services on consumers, said Terry Denson, vp prgmming/mkting. "We just want to make them available and seamless, if you will." — Cable: At Time Warner Cable, bundle is still the word, with 70%-75% of digital phone subs taking a triple play of services, said Melinda Witmer, vp/prgmming and gen counsel. The MSO is ramping up interactive offerings, which include "Start Over" (the feature that lets viewers access a show throughout its broadcast window, but they won’t be able to fast forward past ads), interactive polling and voting applications and expansion of the VOD platform. — Disney/ESPN’s Sean Bratches raised the digital rights management warning flag, especially as it relates to IPTV technology. While everyone agrees digital rights must be protected, Bratches noted that distributors he’s been in discussions with are concerned about competitive parity. If some systems clamp down on copying and others are more liberal, that’s problematic, he said. "We’re all on the same side," Denson added. "If we all get together and come up with standards that’d help." Proceeds from the breakfast will be directed to NCTA’s "Cable Hope Fund." The breakfast drew about 430 people, off from 500+ last year. – reported by CableWORLD’s Mavis Scanlon

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