This week in Boston, cable executives have gathered at the CTAM (Cable and Telecommunications for Marketing) Summit '08 to discuss the future of their industry and the current telecommunications invasion of TV turf. A quad play incorporating wireless seems to be at the forefront of their minds.
Executives say bundled services have served the industry well, but cable operators need to emphasize the cost savings in a triple play, verses a la carte purchases. The bigger challenge is trying to figure out how to enable customers to move content they have paid for among the different platforms they have.
Authentication for cable customers across set top boxes, PCs, multiple web sites and mobile platforms is being worked out, but programming contracts and seamless technology remain a challenge to portability. Consumers and operators both want to be able to move PC-style content to the 42-inch big screen.
Rogers Communication Chief Strategy Officer Mike Lee envisioned a more radical departure, as he suggested cable companies need to think about cutting the cord on all of their services in the future - voice, video, and data. Rogers has been marketing a four product bundle with phone, mobile, Internet and TV, and Lee believes that mobile capability has a unique value that will bridge to data and video, as it does with voice calls today.
Interestingly, Rogers started with a triple play of video, data and mobile, adding a wireline home phone in 2006. Integration of mobile with other products generates more benefits and opportunities, but it's not easy. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have teamed up with Clearwire on WiMAX. Meanwhile, Cox Communications will deploy mobile phone service in 2009, and Cablevision has gone retro with a WiFi buildout.
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