Cable Execs Debunk Netflix Bogeyman
Apparently no one in the cable industry.
While Netflix is often the poster child for the over-the-top (OTT) video threat, as both a successful seller of on-demand content and a bandwidth hog, cable execs on stage at The Cable Show this week repeatedly went out of their way to say they don't see Netflix as a real rival.
The attitude seems to be one of "bring it on, we're ready," which is something very different from what is often heard on the telco and wireless side. Instead of talking about new ways of monetizing their broadband services to count usage or bandwidth consumption, or looking for any kind of regulatory help, the cable guys claim to at least to be ready to compete.
Michael Willner, vice chairman and CEO of Insight Communications Co. Inc. , said in a keynote panel Wednesday that he's happy for anything that uses the "big thick broadband pipe" that cable provides into the home, because his company is going to continue improving its own video products to make them more competitive, with more interactivity and on-demand features.
Robert Marcus, president and COO of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), followed up those comments by deriding the quality of what Netflix can offer -- even with its foray into original content, Netflix lacks live sports or other crucial content to compete.
"Part of the attraction is cheapness of that service -- cheapness and robust offering don't go hand in hand," he said.
Multiple cable execs touted tablets as their new best friends -- devices over which they can offer new types of video services and new interactivity. The real challenge, it seems, is in finding ways to measure viewership on these new devices as well as online, and in getting to market quickly with interactive features that let audiences participate in live programming.
These guys may just be talking a good game, but at least they've come to play.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading