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CTAM Live: Execs Like Cable’s Positioning

BOSTON – Cable executives think the industry is well prepared for continued competition from telcos, and to cope with the pressures of the economic downturn.

Officials, speaking on a CTAM Summit ’08 panel here Monday, said that bundled products have served the industry well, but as the economy spirals downward, operators need to reinforce the value of those offerings, emphasizing cost savings of a triple play versus a la carte purchases.

Cable subscriptions are still cheaper than taking the family to two movies a month, executives noted.

The bigger challenge, going forward, is figuring out how to let consumers move content they have already paid for among the technological platforms they utilize.

Ellen East, executive vice president and chief communications officer at Time Warner Cable, said her company is looking at a way consumers can authenticate themselves as paid subscribers when logging directly onto programmer’s sites. That authentication would allow the viewers to access television content on their PCs or mobile platforms. (TWC has, in Wisconsin, been offering its subscribers who get HBO and TWC high-speed Internet the ability to watch HBO content online on computers in or near their homes, via a service called HBO on Broadband.)

East noted that programming contracts, and technology, could be stumbling blocks to such a distribution stream. Such an option needs to be easy and quick, allowing faultless downloading, she said.

Ted Schremp, the Charter Communications executive vice president and chief marketing officer, agreed that operators need to find a way to enable movement of content within the home.

“People are buying 42-inch plasma screens and watching shows on the little screens on their computers. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said.

But cable needs an economic model that works before allowing movement of content, he added.

Cable also wants a methodology that will not require re-authentication with each cable-related Web site that a consumer visits, they said.

For more coverage of CTAM Summit '08, click here..