Comcast, Cablevision Will Increase Capex in 2009
The cable industry may be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy economy–and one clearly not looking for a government bailout. Such is the sentiment from the 2009 NCTA Cable Show taking place this week in Washington, DC, which gathers together top industry executives, vendors, and members of Congress for a three-day event. The general feeling from vendors and Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) alike is that the cable industry appears capable of weathering the recession in stride.
Despite severe drops in advertising revenue–largely attributable to the high proportion of automotive advertising on cable systems–MSOs are nonetheless witnessing positive subscriber growth. The top cable systems in the US grew by an average of over 9% in 2008, according to Strategy Analytics.
The theme of this year’s show, “Cable Takes You There,” alludes to the notion of the ‘anytime, anywhere, any device’ concept, and the message permeates the halls and booths of the Washington Convention Center.
New product innovation and effective execution will be keys to Cable’s continued success, according to executives. Time Warner Cable CEO, Glenn Britt, noted that a focus on “features and marketing,” rather than on price, will be key to his company’s strategy as it takes on Telco fiber offerings.
“MSOs and vendors we’ve talked to this week all share the same optimism about where the consumer broadband market is headed,” reported Ben Piper, Analyst and Director of the Strategy Analytics Multiplay Market Dynamics service. “Even in what they say is the most troubling economic environment in their experience, MSOs consider themselves uniquely positioned to execute.”
The purse-strings do not appear to be tightening either. Comcast CEO, Brian Roberts, suggested that now is the time to reinvest in the network–a sentiment echoed by Cablevision head Tom Rutledge, who said his company will increase capex in 2009.
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