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Cable companies team up with Stanford to try to keep customers interested

Jerald Kent, chief executive of Cequel Communications and co-founder of Charter Communications, Inc. (CHTR), recently complained to Reuters that the cable industry is getting stale.  He comments, "[The industry needs to] get re-energized.  Part of the message is this is not your grandmother's cable business."

The cable industry has suffered hundreds of thousands of customer defections in recent months amid a lagging economy.  And while it pulled in $97.6B USD last year and fed streams to 57 million customers, its long-term future is unclear in the internet age.

To that end top cable companies are collaborating to form an "innovation funnel", located in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Managed by Louisville, Colo.-based CableLabs, an industry nonprofit research and development consortium, the new center will open in mid-2013 and house a number of engineers looking to experiment with ambitious GUIs and interactive options to reinvigorate the increasingly tired cable television space.

The new lab is located in the heart of gleaming Silicon Valley. [Image Source: Kidder Mathews]

CableLabs already had a small outpost in San Francisco, but the new Bay Area facility will greatly expand its local presence.  The industry entity is looking to partner up with Stanford University for academia-industry joint projects.

Aside from re-skins of traditional cable offerings, these "co-innovation labs" will reportedly explore ways of offering up faster, better cable services to mobile devices.

Comments Comcast Corp.'s (CMSCA) cable CEO Neil Smit -- also a CableLabs board member -- "Mobile is growing and we want to provide our services in mobile format.  Wi-Fi is a very important part of our business, both indoor and outdoor aspects of it."

Source: Reuters

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Wanna save cable?
By Ammohunt on 11/6/2012 5:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
Offer ala carte channels for $1-3 a month per channel. I don't want to pay for 800 channels of pure garbage only to watch 4 on a regular basis.

RE: Wanna save cable?
By Uncle on 11/6/2012 6:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
I'm with you on that one.When I brought it up 20 years ago, they used the excuse, probably valid, they had few digital and plenty of analogue channels, was holding them back. Now they tell me its government regulation. My fear is that if too many quit cable, which I did three yrs ago, they will start to raise my internet rates a lot higher to balance their $losses$. Then what am I to do. These companies seem to forget their is only so much discretionary money that people have.

RE: Wanna save cable?
By DiscoWade on 11/6/2012 7:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
Talk to Viacom and ABC and the other cable channel operators. They are the ones that make the cable and satellite companies sell in packages. They are the ones that are constantly raising prices knowing people will get angry at the cable/satellite company and not them. The cable channel companies know that if a la carte is allowed, they will lose big because people will no longer pay for crap channels.

If I had my way, I would make a la carte mandatory, ban promos for other TV shows during a TV show, force the station to air the credits unaltered, and limit the commercials to 15 minutes per hour on new shows and movies. I would also ban DRM on all broadcasts. And what I would like to see is for satellite operators to be forced to support a device like a CableCard so that people can buy their own DVR's and HTPC's and still get satellite service.

RE: Wanna save cable?
By Ammohunt on 11/6/2012 8:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
Commercials on pay for TV was one of my bet peeves i get to pay a premium to see commercials.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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