Youd think that putting together the Top Ops issue year after year would get old. After all, how many ways are there to slice and dice the companies and players that bring those wires into the home? Havent we been there, done that?
Part of the beauty of this industry is that it’s ever changing, ever evolving… ever adapting in a perpetual and glorious march toward a future that always seems brighter than the past. Despite all the consolidation, all the mergers and all the bluster about irrelevance and over-the-top Armageddon, cable keeps chugging along like an indestructible organism that refuses to die. To be sure, cable faces challenges and some of them are outlined in the profiles of this issue. But this isn’t an industry that pines for the old days before tough telco competition, before Silicon Valley’s encroachment into traditional video, before consumers became nearly impossible to satisfy and more fickle than at perhaps any time in history. Cable doesn’t reminisce. This is an industry of entrepreneurs. It’s an industry that moves on and plows forward. And it’s an industry that will continue exploiting its multi-billion-dollar infrastructure for decades to come.
One need only read this issue to find example after example of cable operators refusing to sit on their laurels. Our Operator of the Year is Comcast, not because it’s the biggest, baddest Kingpin on the cable block (although it kinda is). No, we recognize Comcast largely for its Spidey-sense: It knows that with great power comes great responsibility to lead on technology, community service, diversity and advocacy.
Say what you will about Comcast, but you can’t deny that it has forged a clear path for the industry in several areas, all while conducting a massive merger integration that’s happening during the biggest period of change in the industry’s history. Not bad.
Then there’s our Independent Operator of the Year, Wave Broadband. What a story. At a time when most people thought the industry had settled into a mold of sorts, Steve Weed and Steve Friedman only a decade ago started swashbuckling their ways into smart acquisitions and savvy financing that built a powerful indie MSO, which continues to offer top- notch services despite scrapping with competitors several times larger. And it’s not done: Business service growth is at 40% per year, and the Steves are still ramping up.
Beyond that, you’ll read about our many category winners whose local and regional feats continue to astound people and companies that should make the entire industry proud. It’s still cable. It’s still entrepreneurial. And it’s here to stay.