Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - 4

cablefaxmag.com
editorial
executive editor, cablefax group
Michael Grebb
Holding Up The Mirror
Sometimes cable mirrors society.
Take all the media consolidation that has some up in arms and others shrugging with
relative apathy. Without choosing sides in the debate here, everyone must admit that
consolidation is real in the wake of Comcast-Time Warner Cable, DirecTV-AT&T and
additional deals that conventional wisdom suggests will follow over the next couple
years. All of this happens after well over a decade of M&A that has already left cable
distribution a much more centralized and consolidated animal than it was only a
couple decades ago.
From the system swaps of the early 1990s to the mega-mergers that have followed,
this industry has been like a gas cloud in space, swirling within and around itself as it
slowly coalesces into a solid mass. Solid mass is good. Without it, we wouldn't have
the Earth, the moon, the stars... you name it. But as mid-sized objects smash into
larger ones, they're usually absorbed. And at some point, we're left only with asteroids
and moon dust orbiting on the outskirts of much larger bodies.
It's a clunky analogy, to be sure. But the truth is that cable operators these days are increasingly
really, really big or really, really small. And in a way, that mirrors our American
society. Most experts agree that more wealth is now concentrated at the top and the
bottom-with very little in between. Scholars can debate the reasons and even whether
we should try to preserve a middle class at all in a free market. But the truth remains
that cable's consolidation mirrors that of its customers. And that consumer reality is
one to which the late TWC chief Glenn Britt alluded often in his fi nal days, arguing that
cable operators need to offer more affordable options in a world in which more and more
people struggle to make ends meet.
With big mergers working their way through the regulatory process right now, the
debate over media consolidation will continue for quite some time-as will the larger
political debate over America's shrinking middle class. But one thing's for sure:
Cable and broadband remain a lifeline for millions of people served by the operators
featured in these pages. The big ones often lead the way in technology and innovation;
the small ones often excel in localism and customer service. But it's never black
and white. Some big companies rock customer service. And many indie ops are quite
innovative. So while this industry's middle class of distributors may be fading, whether
that ends up a positive or a negative will depend largely on how all companies big and
small treat their customers. Just look in the mirror...
contributors
Seth Arenstein, Michael Grebb
advertising/business
senior vice president, media communications group
Diane Schwartz
(212) 621-4964, dschwartz@accessintel.com
associate publisher, cablefax group
Amy Abbey
(301) 354-1629, aabbey@accessintel.com
marketing
director of marketing, media communications group
Kate Schaeffer, kschaeffer@accessintel.com
(301) 354-2303
marketing coordinator
Diana Rojas, drojas@accessintel.com
design/production
Joanne Moran, jmoran@accessintel.com
senior production manager
Joann M. Fato
(301) 354-1681, jfato@accessintel.com
director of marketing, cablefax
Laurie Hofmann
(301) 354-1796, lhofmann@accessintel.com
list sales - Worldata (561) 393-8200
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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014

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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - Cover1
Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - Cover2
Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - Contents
Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - 4
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