Cable Programmers: We Must Adapt

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Chicago — The cable “cord-cutting” phenomenon is
overrated, according to several cable executives speaking
at last week’s Cable Show, but the industry still has
to find ways to deliver and monetize content on alternative
platforms to keep younger viewers engaged in cable
TV services.

Mike Hopkins, president of affiliate sales and marketing
for Fox Networks, said that cable is in a good position
today, as more people are watching television than ever
before, but the industry needs to transition into delivering
content to other platforms to maintain favor with
younger viewers who are watching more content on tablets,
iPhones and other mobile devices.

“We just have to make sure the ecosystem we’re
in survives and grows. We’re doing a good job of
getting people to watch our shows. We just have to
continue to build that out and build it out and find
ways to monetize the content,” he said.

While young people will pay for high-speed broadband
access, NBCUniversal president of TV networks
distribution Bridget Baker said it’s less certain whether
they’ll automatically ante up for traditional cable service.
She referenced an informal survey she conducted
with several young NBC staffers in which the vast majority
said they found out about Osama Bin Laden’s death
via Facebook or Twitter and not the traditional news

“It’s not a question of whether [young people] will cut
the cord of cable or even shave it. The question becomes
… when [do they] ever subscribe to cable?” Baker said
during the Wednesday panel session.

Added Turner Network Sales chief operating officer
Coleman Breland: “You have to adapt to what they’re doing
on tablets, mobile phones and PCs. You have to find
a way to get the content to them and pull them into the
ecosystem and support it.”