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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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RE: Cable innovation
By CList on 11/6/2012 6:07:16 PM , Rating: 5
Who watches commercials??


RE: Cable innovation
By Solandri on 11/6/2012 6:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
Once upon a time, cable TV didn't have commercials. The idea was that on free over-the-air TV, the shows were paid for by ads. With cable TV, you paid for the cable service, which paid for the shows. So no ads were needed.

Gradually over the years, the cable companies snuck in ads and started double-dipping - receiving money both from the subscriber and from the advertiser. The only thing left resembling the old ad-free cable TV are the subscription channels like HBO.


RE: Cable innovation
By Motoman on 11/6/2012 9:35:53 PM , Rating: 2
Cable never had *no* commercials. But it was most definitely marketed as having fewer commercials at the start. Didn't last long.


RE: Cable innovation
By marvdmartian on 11/7/2012 7:37:39 AM , Rating: 2
Premium channels (HBO, Cinemax, and even, at the beginning, MTV) didn't have commercials, per se......just fillers between the end of one movie, and the beginning of the next one, where those channels self-advertised their other movies for the month.

I believe the people who are ditching cable, and even satellite, are the ones who are tired of dishing out $100+ a month for service, only to realize there's nothing on worth watching, AND who discover there are other methods of bringing in television service. With the innovation of streaming internet boxes (Roku, etc), you can pay for your high speed internet ($50-$75 a month), plus small monthly fees for whichever streaming service(s) you want, to tailor your service.

The same tailored (a' la carte) service that the cable company has said, for years, that they cannot manage to give us.


RE: Cable innovation
By kattanna on 11/7/2012 9:33:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who watches commercials??


seriously.. we are either watching netflix dvd/streaming or something recorded on the DVR. we almost never watch "live" tv so we can fast forward


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