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Burke Bullish On Commercial Phone and Interactive Advertising

New York – Investors looking for the next big thing in cable don’t have to look farther than Comcast, company chief operating officer Steve Burke said at an industry conference Tuesday, adding that two new products in the pipeline – commercial phone and interactive advertising – should offset slowing growth in existing products as the industry matures.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference here, Burke said that eventually, 20% penetration levels for commercial phone won’t be unheard of.

“Like residential [telephone], it’s a very big business that doesn’t have facilities-based competition,” Burke said.

Comcast has said that it will target small and medium sized businesses for commercial phone, like pizza parlors and delis. Burke said that Comcast will ramp up the product in 2008 and 2009.

Another new product in the hopper – interactive advertising – also presents promise, but likely won’t take hold until 2009 and 2010, Burke said.

Burke said that he believes there are still several years of growth left in high-speed data as well as digital phone service. But Comcast’s strategy of introducing new products regularly should ease any fears that the growth train could come to a stop.

“The layering in of new growth opportunities has worked well for us,” Burke said, adding that the first business plans for high-speed data service peaked at 15% to 20% penetration. Comcast reported more than 26% high-speed data penetration in the second quarter.

“The beauty of the position we’re in, is we have a tremendous investment in the plant. All businesses, whether it’s high-speed data, phone, commercial, or interactive advertising, leverage the existing investment, leverage the existing workforce.”