The Cable Show 2012: think ‘what’ not ‘how’

With The Cable Show just days away I’ve been thinking about how the Pay TV industry is evolving, where it’s likely to be headed in the next few years and, most importantly how the industry positions itself to lead.

The cable TV industry has been in a state of almost continual change for a number of years now, with reports of the death of Pay TV at the hands of so-called ‘cord cutters’ – consumers that choose over-the-top or internet streaming services. The last decade has been a time of unrivalled technology change – we’ve had the switch from standard definition to high definition in many markets… the launch of 3D, the growth of on-demand services [from both Pay TV and OTT service providers] – and, more recently, the rise of multi-screen, connected TV services.  Every technology vendor is trying to convince operators that their technology is the next big thing!

But, having worked in the technology industry for more than 12 years there’s one thing I’ve learned… consumers aren’t interested in technology, per se.  They’re interested in what it delivers. They’re interested in how it improves their lives. In our industry the key to leading the evolution of TV in the future is to create an amazing viewing experience. An experience that makes it easier for them to consume the content that want, when they want it and on the screen they want [whether that’s the large screen TV in the lounge, the ‘second’ tablet or mobile or the PC].

The technology exists today to deliver this new TV experience – now is the time for the Pay TV industry to start telling consumers about it why they want it, rather than focusing on the technology itself .  Apple has demonstrated that if you tell consumers why they should want a piece of technology and demonstrate how it will improve their lives they’ll buy it… in its millions… in an economic downturn.

My message to technology vendors and operators alike in Boston next week is this: remember it’s the why, as much as the how, that will give you the opportunity to turn the latest technology into revenue.  The Cable industry is undoubtedly shaping the future of the Pay TV market, but it’s time to tell them why a connected, social, high definition, multi-screen TV industry is a must have.

If we don’t do it, somebody else will.


2 Replies to “The Cable Show 2012: think ‘what’ not ‘how’”

  1. Again, I agree; however, I think in addition to the “why” -(i.e. create the demand); with cable companies – the cost is also crucial, or at least a viable explanation to prompt people to pay the prices that are continually inflated. I paid $145 a month for cable TV, and recently switched to Satelite – receive all channels I got from cable for $75. a month.

    Crazy thing is, I don’t watch much television – but when I want to – I want a good selection.

    I am happy to see competitors driving the costs down; (satellite vrs cable) I also feel that many consumers are intimidated by the interconnectivity of TV services. I believe that the average consumer would embrace new technology if it were presented in a simpler manner. Or perhaps that is just my own naivety.

    I switched to Bell because of a simple commercial, suggesting a lower price, with all of the services I presently receive – and it could be done in a day. And, they did it. That’s good servicing.

    Having said the above, I also thought that by now, every home would be built with walls that were screens that could be changed to meadows, another could be a fireplace, one could be family pictures, one news, or you had the option to put whatever you wanted on them. Not unlike what you saw in Total Recall – and I thought this years before that movie came out.

    Dang, my response is about the size of your blog. lol. I like reading your stuff. BB

  2. Lyndon,

    I totally agree with your stance here and I think that this years Cable Show delivered exactly what you were asking. For instance, the Comcast booth was packed since they were showing off their new X1 guide product, and the new cloud DVR as well.

    Also at Cisco, they showed me a product for providers that was a direct impact for customers as it allowed broadcast TV and DOCSIS traffic to be married into one stream using the equipment that is now in the datacenters (think IPTV).

    The future is bright with opportunities for companies small and large to allow consumers to get the content where and when they want it.

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