As I write this, I have just returned from Oshkosh, Wisconsin and the big air industry show called AirVenture. Two things impressed me about this experience that have relevance to the cable industry: the age of the population and what that industry is doing about insuring a future for itself.
In Chicago, the great fire of 1871 wiped out much of the business district, and the capitalists came running. The fire’s fury had produced an attractive, greenfield opportunity for building infrastructure in what was the world’s fastest growing city. Nearly two dozen electricity entrepreneurs competed to carve out operations in small delivery sectors.
Over the top services (OTT) are affecting the pay TV business. Maybe only a little, but measurably. In the second quarter AT&T and Verizon added video customers (233,000 and 140,000 respectively), but their gains do not even come close to offsetting the subscriber losses experienced by most of the top cable operators and both satellite providers.
To create the AutoHop functionality, Dish technicians in Cheyenne, Wyoming manually view Fox’s primetime programming each night and technologically mark the beginning and end of each commercial. The program content is not altered in any way. The electronically marked files are then uplinked in Wyo., and eventually transmitted to subscribers.
“Reverse retrans” might merit some consideration. The Time Warner Cable / CBS dispute merely underlines what everyone knows: the retransmission consent process is utterly out of control. Some policy wonks are suggesting the solution is to eliminate retrans rules altogether.
I’ve seen an interesting phenomenon related to the continual changes in the industry, the constant need to reduce cost and the desire to be more efficient. That is, that whatever we have now isn’t good enough, so we must buy something new to replace it.
File-based workflows are supplanting earlier, less integrated digital workflow architectures in cable plants everywhere. File-based environments streamline content production and delivery, a crucial benefit given proliferating end-user platforms and the diverse formats that support them.
Power is important. Can’t run a network business without it, right? Which would make power no different from, say, optical fiber, or QAMs, or provisioning systems. The difference is that in the last 18 months, power has started evolving into a topline criterion for MSOs.
While the cable industry has worked overtime to overcome the perception of poor customer service when it comes installs the stereotype still persists. With an increasingly competitive landscape, cable operators know they have to do a better job of keeping their subscribers happy while also improving their fulfillment operations to cut down on truck rolls.
HotSpot 2.0, which was recently re-named Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint by the Wi-Fi Alliance, has the potential to make a big impact on the mobile connectivity landscape. The new approach to public Wi-Fi access is aimed at greatly improving the Wi-Fi user experience. Part of the movement is a certification process for existing hotspots and technology.
The broadband industry is now defining many of the last mile physical layer (PHY) technologies that will take us into the next decade such as DOCSIS 3.1, EPoC, EPON, RFoG, and now Remote PHY. But which combination is best for a given cable operator to use for a given location and competitive landscape? That’s a question we’ll be striving to answer at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo this year.
The spigot on the venture capital pipe seems to be opening a little wider of late, with companies specializing in various technologies important to the communications industry picking up multi-million dollar infusions, including two companies that bagged $50 million or more each.
Rep. Greg Walden is trying to revive legislation to reform the FCC that he’s failed to get passed before and is a good bet to fail again. He describes it as a bill that would make the FCC more transparent, though what it will mostly do is make the FCC even less effective than it is now.
Now that TV can go over any screen and can be watched at any time, the problem of controlling reach and frequency is exponentially more complex. To reach people who are watching TV time-shifted or on devices, advertisers need not only to buy traditional linear TV, but also to buy campaigns on all the other new TV platforms as well — a cost prohibitive proposition.
The 1980s were sweet times for cable programmers. Flush with cash from a dual-revenue stream economic model that was the envy of the TV business, they were rising in power and eager to grow. Cable companies recognized how essential these programming providers were to the growth of their industry, particularly as cable began to push into major metropolitan markets.