• Revisiting the Long Tail on My Cable Show Panel Next Week

    Next week I’ll be in Vegas for the annual Cable Show. This is the cable TV industry’s annual gathering of operators, programmers and vendors. I’ve been attending this show for years and it’s great fun to reconnect with lots of old colleagues and friends.
    Last year I moderated a session with video executives from AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo, which, based on feedback I received afterwards, helped a lot of attendees understand how significant these companies are going to be in the video distribution business (and therefore, why they need to be on cable executives’ radar screens).
    Once again I’ll be moderating a discussion session, this year entitled, “Video’s Online Adventure: New Ideas for a New Generation of Television.” The session features Doug Hurst, SVP, Scripps Networks, Joe Gillespie, EVP, CNET, Ian Blaine, CEO, thePlatform, Bob Leverone, VP Video, Dow Jones Online and Karl Quist, President, TotalVid.
    As a former “cable guy”, one of my main goals with these sessions is to continue helping the industry recognize that the world of video is changing dramatically. Cable executives have been remarkably adaptive to change over the years. But with broadband’s openness now allowing scores of new video providers and distributors into the market, many of cable’s fundamental operating assumptions are going to be severely tested.
    For example, if the concept of the Long Tail (originally an article, and now a book by Chris Anderson), is applied to the cable industry it suggests that cable’s “walled-garden” content paradigm is going to be undermined by broadband’s infinite choice and personalization. I wrote an extensive piece about this way back in March, 2005 and I think it’s truer now than ever.
    All of the panelists have a great vantage point to comment on the Long Tail’s impact on cable. Bob and Joe come from publishers (print and online respectively) that haven’t done a lot with video previously, but are now aggressively pursuing it. Karl has started a specialty video distribution business that is only possible due to broadband. Doug’s company is leveraging broadband to create many new broadband experiences. Finally Ian’s company is powering many broadband video initiatives from established and startups.
    All in all, this group will bring an invaluable perspective to attendees trying to figure out how the video proliferation that broadband is causing will impact their corner of the cable business!