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Cable Head Michael Powell: We Know People Hate Us

Michael Powell, President and CEO at the NCTA, says the cable industry is something people 'love to hate'—but there are some ways to make it better.

Read more and watch the first half of our interview: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140812121013-29092--plans-don-t-survive-the-first-contact-with-the-enemy

Some of our favorite excerpts:
"I don't know about love, but I think it's very important to have the esteem and respect of the people you serve. And I think this is really a substantial problem for the [cable] industry.

"It's a pain point. It's a pain point that a truck has to come, open the door, put on blue booties, and come in through your house. And often drill holes. Often install equipment. And very few people do that anymore. There are very few services you purchase that require that kinds of intimacy and interaction. So that's a pain point."

"I think there's an elegance in simplicity that we're still working to catch up on. Why? Because our industry forever has been very hardware-centric. So almost all of our innovations live inside a box. And that box is deployed to, you know, a hundred million customers across the ecosystem. That box has to be serviced. That box has to be deployed. It has to be brought out. At the end of the day it's an industry that needs to make a transition from hardware to software."

"But now having said all the bad stuff, I think it's also important to remember: people subscribe to it in enormous numbers, more and more. Even during the darkest days of the recession, it was one of the only things consumers did not get rid of, didn't cut. The movie industry's suffering, in part because people have essentially the equivalent of a home entertainment movie-driven system fed by that cable property. And the content that's coming over that is some of the wildest, highest, award-winning content ever."

On broadband:
"The cable service is also the broadband service. Right? So more and more, you know, I think the operator world will see itself as much or more as broadband providers, as they will of the 1980s notion of a cable provider.

Indeed, we have cable companies now who make more of their revenue in broadband provisioning than they do in video provisioning. In fact, the growth curves are opposite each other for many companies. So you're gonna have a relationship with a cable company, or a telephone company, whoever's providing that infrastructure for you.

"Because you're gonna have to have the infrastructure necessary to reach Hulu, or Netflix, or YouTube, or Vimeo, or any of them. So there's always gonna be a place there for whatever that distribution channel is. And I think that continues to keep us in the home for a long time."