Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - 6

MSO OF THE YEAR
Comcast Cable
Picking the annual MSO of the Year can be a tough decision.
Not this time.
Comcast's audacious move to buy Time Warner Cable
shocked everyone who thought its against-all-odds acquisition
of NBCU in 2011 was the " war to end all wars " in terms of
the MSO's merger ambitions. And while the TWC deal could
still get blocked, the conventional wisdom is that Comcast will
satisfy the powers in Washington and get it done, cementing
its role as the undisputed Grand Poobah of Cable, Media and
Entertainment. That is, after a hard slog toward approval. " A lot
of the work right now is just data collection, and there's a lot of
it, " says Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit. " I think that there are
great things that both companies bring to the table, and our
objective is to drive great products and more content, and to
get the best of both companies in terms of technical capabilities
to market as soon as possible. "
Of course, not everyone's a fan of all this consolidation.
Consumer groups oppose the deal. And even some big programmers
grumble about it privately. But here's the simple
truth: The cable industry would likely be behind several of its
competitors in technology and overall innovation if it wasn't
for Comcast's strong leadership role. And more and more
these days, that leadership hinges on the kind of scale that
can defeat telco, satellite and dot-com foes. " Everybody's
getting into the video space, so we've got to provide the best
experience, " says Smit. " We have a lot of content. We've got
to fi gure out how to make it easier for consumers to access
that content and enjoy the whole discovery process of getting
the content they want. "
The company makes a difference, not only in terms of its
products and efforts to improve the customer experience,
but in everything it does to educate policymakers nationwide
about cable's important role in U.S. society. Whether it's better
set-top navigation, faster broadband, improved customer
service or simply good corporate citizenship with its Internet
Essentials program, Comcast is an example to the rest of
the industry. Some would point out some of this stems from
earlier NBCU merger conditions, but the end result has been
a stronger innovation platform for the entire industry. And
that has lifted all boats, even if some have been thrust onto
choppy seas (or even rocky shores) along the way.
Comcast's tech leadership is particularly stellar; In 2013
alone, the MSO managed 184 new software releases and 41
new products in Xfi nity video, home, broadband and communications.
" With cloud-enabled IP technology, we can innovate
and improve the customer experience faster than ever, "
notes Comcast Cable EVP/CTO Tony Werner. That includes
partnering with others like Twitter, Apple and Microsoft " to
help deliver more innovative and personalized experiences, "
adds Chief Business Development Offi cer Sam Schwartz.
Says EVP, Consumer Services Marcien Jenckes, " we set the
bar high with X1 and in the past few months alone, we have
launched cloud DVR and a new digital store, invented new
Xfi nity apps for Apple and Android and increased our internet
speeds to stay ahead of consumer demand, " he says.
It's about leveraging the NBCU asset, something that
Comcast expects to divest some 3 million subscribers
as part of its deal with TWC, leaving it with 30 million
subscribers if the deal is approved.
Comcast has committed to spending " hundreds of millions of
dollars " annually to improve Time Warner Cable's networks.
The MSO expects run-rate efficiencies of $1.5 billion in
operating expenditures and $400 million in capital expenditures
after completing the TWC deal.
6
cablefaxmag.com
Comcast will only accelerate when and if it takes over TWC's
NYC and L.A. markets-the two largest and most important
media markets in the U.S. As SVP, strategic integration Maggie
Suniewick notes, " we are leveraging resources across
both NBCUniversal and Comcast to promote our products
and services and to drive results. It's an effective and effi cient
way for us to align all the brands in a way that benefi ts customers
and the business. "
But in the end, Smit says it's all about execution. " We
have to keep pushing the outfl ow in terms of what we
can do with our network and our content and our capabilities.
But at the same time, it all comes down to dayto-day
execution. Are we taking care of the customers?
Without that, you don't have the luxury of innovating. "
- Michael Grebb
July 2014
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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014

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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - Cover1
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