Cable’s Next Generation

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How apt that Multichannel News, by sheer happenstance, has a special report titled “Cable’s Next Generation” this week, as I near what will be my last day as editor in chief, July 15.

Last day? Hardly. Like many of you who’ve been in the business for eons — for me, just shy of 15 years — I will remain tethered to cable.

I’ll continue to write a column and show up at events which showcase this industry and the great folks who people it. I am segueing to a place I really want to be, at our home on Cape Cod. Let’s just say capitalism is great, the system works and I dabbled in real estate and got lucky. Hence the move.

So the column lives. And my gut feelings about this business were reinforced by the finds from a just-completed readership study. You told us your key concerns are about keeping up with technology and sorting through the mumbo jumbo. Don’t worry, Matt Stump and Leslie Ellis remain on the case.

Second, you said you liked our coverage of the competition, whether from satellite or the phone companies. Again, not to fret: The entire editorial staff looks for each blip on the radar screen.

Third, you’re more than a little anxious as Washington revisits the telecommunications bill. Ted Hearn will sort that all out for you.

But what really surprised me from our research was that so many of our respondents were cavalier about marketing. In fact, our marketing coverage was viewed as least important. That is a shocker when you connect the dots and see a huge disconnect. This industry has lost 20% of its base to satellite. And who knows what the second wave of telco assault will bring? Perhaps there’s something wrong with cable’s marketing message.

So keep calling Steve Donohue, Linda Moss, Mike Farrell, Tom Umstead, Mike Reynolds and Linda Haugsted to let them know what you’re doing to improve cable’s image.

But mostly, keep my right-hand man Kent Gibbons — Multichannel News’s editor, who keeps track of everything here — in the loop. I can’t thank him enough for making this paper the No. 1 read in the cable industry.

And keep Carol Jordan, our group deputy editor, in your thoughts and prayers. She’s out on sick leave and we hope for her speedy return. She keeps all the trains running on time.

Having said that, Multichannel News has the editorial bench strength of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox combined. Special reports editor Janet Stilson will continue to look for trends affecting your business. The desk, manned by Mike Demenchuk and Eric Smith, remains steadfast in preventing us from sounding like idiots. Our art directors, Nimish Shah and Maria Hernandez, will package all the elements together to make for an attractive read. And senior Web editor Dave Cohen will keep an eye on breaking news.

And don’t forget about me. I’m keeping an e-mail address I’ve had for years — fittingly, mpcable@aol.com. So drop me a line. I’m not dropping out.

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