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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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