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Policy

Cable’s Personal Transformation

4/03/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

This year’s National Show marks an important transition for the cable industry. Working with our terrific Convention Committee, we’ve reimagined and reformatted the show to reflect the faster-paced, multifaceted environment in which our industry operates today.

With this year’s show in San Francisco, always a forward-looking city, what better time to try a new approach? We’re only minutes away from the new-tech capital of the world, Silicon Valley, and just up the road from the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles. We want this year’s show to symbolize this convergence of technology and content that is really what the cable industry is all about.

Cable now offers consumers a complete broadband experience, one that can serve the diverse needs of an entire family — a complete entertainment, communications and information powerhouse that is a window to the world.

This year’s show is different because cable is different. Today, cable is all about personalization — taking cable products and services, and making them yours, making them work for you. In that regard, as we say in the theme of the show, cable puts you in control.

So, how has the show changed?

First, to reflect the increasingly fast-paced world in which we live, the show has been condensed into two and a half days — we’re calling it “64 Hours That Will Dramatically Change Your Business.” We want your experience to be more efficient, high-octane and productive.

Another difference in this year’s show can be found in our speakers. In the past, most of the general and breakout sessions featured cable leaders, with an occasional appearance by an “outside” business or technology leader.

This year’s speakers reflect cable’s broader new horizons and business opportunities.

We’ll have the chance to hear from many of the best thinkers and most creative visionaries in the technology, media and entertainment industries. Our future and theirs are very much bound together, and it’s vitally important that we know more about each other.

We’ll also showcase the incredible broadband world that an industrywide capital investment of $95 billion over the past eight years has made possible: video on demand and digital video recorders, high-definition TV, broadband Internet access, and, for many of our companies, the launch of IP-based digital voice services.

We are incorporating cutting-edge technology and consumer electronics into our new products, and identifying top quality programming and content opportunities, with the goal of providing the best entertainment experience to our customers.

With services provided by cable, consumers truly do have control over their home entertainment, information and communications experience. One great example is how cable has changed the television viewing experience.

By using the many video content sources and services available today, cable enables families to design their own TV schedule. For recording and time-shifting programs, our customers have the DVR as well as a library of VOD movies and cable programs from which to choose. And of course they’ve got all those channels we call “linear television” — to watch TV in the traditional and time-honored way.

A consumer today can draw on all of these resources to create the ultimate viewing experience — a unique collection of content in various formats that has erased the memory of appointment TV.

And similar dynamics are at work in the high-speed Internet services and the IP-based voice services we offer. More and more features are being added so that “the Internet” is becoming “my Internet.” That is the promise of cable and that is how the industry puts consumers in control.

We believe Comcast Corp.’s Greater San Francisco Bay Area system is a perfect example of cable’s commitment to consumers and our efforts to help customers personalize their cable experience.

At Comcast, we’re pleased to be demonstrating our advanced video and high-speed Internet services during the show. To date, in the Bay Area we’ve invested more than $400 million in capital expenditures and introduced a variety of new products. Our local investments in the San Francisco market and across our footprint — totaling nearly $40 billion — have enabled us to serve consumers with a high-value array of integrated products and services.

We’re also pleased that the National Show will be the place where Comcast will launch a new on-demand service for families of preschool-aged children, offering digital customers the opportunity to select from 50 hours of top-quality children’s television shows at no additional charge — and a quarter of the selections will be refreshed every other week.

The ability to deliver content on demand sets us apart from our primary competitors in the satellite industry, only reinforcing the fact that cable is uniquely able to put the viewer in control of their television experience. (We’ll follow this VOD launch with a new 24-hour channel this fall, providing educational and entertaining programming for preschool age children and their families.)

San Francisco will be a terrific showcase for all the ways cable is putting the customers in control of their communications experience. It will be an exciting and high-energy experience that will reinforce our leadership in a competitive and converging world of communications. I hope you’ll be a part of it.

September