Feeling Better, Looking Forward


Funny how that pesky thing called
economic recession seems to be fading from

In our industrial neighborhood — cable and
telecommunications — business leaders
are feeling good about the overall
economy bouncing back, companies
hiring people and consumers spending
more for new digital devices and
services. That’s what a KPMG survey,
conducted among top executives in
April and May, found.

“There’s some optimism, frankly, in
the near-to-short term,” Tony Castellanos,
the KPMG U.S. Communications
and Media National Sector Leader, said
of the answers from 81 CEOs and other
corner-suite inhabitants. “They’re seeing
that some of the issues they faced over the last couple
of years with the economy being resolved or on the
way to resolution. And they’re seeing most of their upside
coming from the digital transformation continuing
— and with wireless and mobile.

“A lot of hopes are coming from the introduction
of new products and devices that are going to
drive revenue, and mobile applications. And to me
that makes a lot of sense,” he said.

With cable companies, wireless is seen as a big
opportunity, Castellanos said.

TV Everywhere is about mobility: Keeping the customers
cable has and getting them to spend more.
“That’s a very clear change that’s favorable to cable
operators, because they’ll be able to extend their services
to their customers,” he said.

On a more basic level, cable depends
on household growth, which is tied into
job growth, which the surveyed executives
think is coming.

KPMG’s survey extended into print
media and broadcast, both television
and radio, Castellanos said. The overall
results include 65% of respondents saying
the top and bottom lines are better
now than they were a year ago.

Looking out a year, 75% think revenue
and profit numbers will be even better.
As for employment, 53% expect their
companies to add staff this year, while 22% are being
cautious and think they will cut head count further.

Respondents see the U.S. economy recovering
fully in 2012 — but they think their own industries
will be back before then.

Here’s the best stat of all: by a 2-to-1 margin, the
executives in this survey say their companies are
investing for long-term growth, rather than cost
cutting for survival.

“They’re feeling better and looking forward,”
Castellanos said.