Cox’s Esser: Cable Industry Set to ‘Explode’ Again

Las Vegas -- With new products such as wideband cable modems and video-on-demand, the cable industry will undergo the type of metamorphosis that it has seen since the late 1970s, Cox Communications president Patrick Esser said Wednesday.

“The next 25 years [the industry] is going to explode again,” said Esser, who first started working in the cable industry in 1979, during the closing general panel session at The Cable Show '07 here.

Esser added that much of that change will be led by a generation of “millennials” -- people born after 1982.

He was joined on the panel by Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries and Disney Media Networks co-chairman George Bodenheimer.

Also Wednesday:

  • Regarding the VOD test Cox is running with Disney Media Networks in which subscribers can’t skip commercials, Bodenheimer said he is “not sure precisely how that will work out.” But Bodenheimer said he sees VOD driving the industry’s future. “In some way or form, on-demand, whether it’s through the [cable] plant or the Internet, is coming.”
  • Bewkes said he expects user-generated content to eventually be distributed through VOD platforms.
  • Esser said two local Cox markets count more telephone subscribers than the local telephone company competing in the areas.