Light Reading
2:55 PM Can we put the dropping of underperforming cable networks next to switched digital video, analog reclamation and advanced compression?

The New Bandwidth Management Tool

Jeff Baumgartner
The Bauminator
Jeff Baumgartner
12/4/2012
50%
50%

2:55 PM -- What has your MHz done for us lately?

That seems to be the question Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt and Charter Communications Inc. CEO Tom Rutledge were raising Monday at the UBS AG conference in New York, when both execs complained about rising programming costs and said they'd consider dropping poor-performing cable networks.

The cash paid to content makers is "out of whack," Britt complained. "It can't continue that way for another 10 or 20 years."

Charter is "looking at similar kinds of savings," Rutledge said later in the day.

Cable spectrum is a precious resource, so the bean counters are keeping an even closer eye on how many dollars are being spent on a per-MHz basis. If the spectrum occupied by a particular network isn't pulling its weight, then the message seems to be that MSOs will reevaluate their options the next time a programmer's carriage deal comes around for renewal.

Let's face it. Pay-TV is a low-margin service, and broadband isn't.

And operators will be looking for more spectrum to feed the broadband beast. The latest, greatest Docsis 3.0 technology can bond 16 or 24 channels. But from what we've been told, cable operators are already having a hard time scrounging up enough spectrum to bond eight downstream channels. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)

Looking ahead, cable operators -- particularly the larger ones -- will be thinking about Docsis 3.1, which will require its own swatch of spectrum. Same goes for EPON Protocol Over Coax (EPoC), a developing Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) standard that might be useful for another high-margin offering: business services. And they're already starting to wonder about how much capacity they'll need to nail up for UltraHD 4K services. There's always something on the horizon that will fill the pipe ... and then some. (See Docsis 3.1 Set for a Spring Fling , EPON-Over-Coax Starts Its Standards Journey and Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo .)

Cable spectrum is always tight. Cable likes to point out that they have lots of tools in the proverbial toolbox to free up space: switched digital video, analog reclamation and more efficient compression schemes.

It's not exactly the kind of bandwidth-saving instrument a cable engineer would be proud to wield, but ditching high-cost, low-performing networks might be another tool cable operators will look to in order to free up space for higher-margin services. Britt and Rutledge didn't exactly put it that way, but notice seemingly has been served.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:18 AM
re: The New Bandwidth Management Tool


Still, to clear a 6MHz channel, TW Cable or Charter would  need more than a handful of networks to be in the doghouse... anyone got a sense on what the muxes are these days for SD and HD channels? On HD, i thought we were in the neighborhood of 4, and maybe 12 or more on SD. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:14 AM
re: The New Bandwidth Management Tool


Thanks for the insight. Good point that many of these carriage deals do bundle together multiple channels in the programmer's stable, so MSOs can indeed get stuck with a range of popular and not-so-popular networks, a model that 's worked pretty well for the programmers.


So until that breaks down some, I agree that these threats are somewhat empty at least among poor performers that are baked into much bigger deals. Britt and Rutledge did not mention any networks by name. 


Both of those MSOs use switched digital video, so part of the negotiatons might involve determining if more channels can be offered in a switched tier so the operator doesn't have to keep bandwidth nailed up when no one is watching. That helps to conserve bandwidth, but the MSO is still paying the fee, of course... just maybe less?  I'm not sure how the cost models change for networks offered on SDV versus a perpetual digital broadcast, but thought i'd mention since i did not really factor in how SDV could impact future negotiations involving the least popular networks.   JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:08 AM
re: The New Bandwidth Management Tool


It's begun, at least at TWC. Ovation says the MSO is going to drop it when the cable channel's current contract expires on Dec. 31.  Ovation's got a petition drive going on its Web site. I can't recall the last time that sort of thing got a cable MSO to change its mind... chopping the carriage fee? Maybe.   JB


 


 

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from The Bauminator
Don't expect anything more to pop for a while, but one analyst sees John Malone & Co. as the 'logical, ultimate acquirer of Ziggo' if the price is right
Cable operators will need to free up at least 24MHz of spectrum for Docsis 3.1. But why is that the magic number?
Liberty Media's rumored plan to snag a 25% stake in Charter for $2.5B could aid the MSO's M&A strategy
Top US cable operators lost 1.41 million video subs in 2012, but the bleeding continues to show signs of slowing in a saturated pay-TV market
Aereo streams its 'no cable required' tagline into the video world. Will consumers tune in to the message?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed