Getting TV to Up Its Game

INTX takes a hard look at the cable industry's future

This week’s INTX will feature robust discussions on a variety of topics paramount to the industry’s future, ranging from the effects of potential new governmental regulations to the prospects for virtual reality.

Another issue that will be talked about in Boston that’s been getting a lot of attention of late — and concerns executives from both pay TV providers and networks — is cord-cutting. The results of various surveys meant to gauge the true effects of cord-cutting have been all over the road.

In a recent report, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield said cord-cutting would cost the industry at least 2 million full-paying video subscribers each year.

Other observers say the issue is overblown. A Consumer Reports survey found that three-fourths of cable subscribers who also subscribe to streaming services say they won’t drop cable because they’re relatively happy with their provider.

Regardless of which side of the argument industry executives fall on, most everyone says that cord-cutting is an issue worthy of concern. Rather than bury their heads in the sand, MVPDs have sought to address the needs and desires of consumers to have more choice in the cable packages they ultimately pay for.

Companies like Comcast, Dish Network and Verizon Communications are experimenting with “skinny bundles” or cable packages with fewer channels to keep subscribers within the pay TV family. Others are building better TV-everywhere and on-demand experiences to provide viewers more viewing options and the flexibility to view content at their leisure.

Several panels during the three-day INTX show will discuss the future of pay television in an increasingly disruptive digital world, giving attendees the chance to debate the best ways to combat a growing, though not insurmountable, hurdle of retaining current customers while drawing in a new generation of potential subscribers.

Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have forced the industry to address the needs and concerns of consumers. The industry is still searching for the best ways to respond to that challenge in kind. This week’s INTX will serve as a good playing field where the industry can take a few swings at the competition.

Game on.