NCTA Display Casts Birds Before Swine


Contributors: Ted Hearn, Steve Donohue, Mike Reynolds.

NCTA Display Casts Birds Before Swine

The eye-popping Broadband Home at the National Show in New Orleans had it all, from the SUV in the driveway to the $32,000 Jacuzzi with HDTV monitor. The robot dog clawing the Astroturf in the front yard was cute, too.

But as cable folks flowed from the house to the show floor, they encountered The Birdbath. Upon close examination, the basin to which a pair of white doves was attached turned out to be an inactive satellite-reception dish with a Dish Network logo.

After cable operators were called price-gouging pigs by Dish Network parent EchoStar Communications Corp. in an ad campaign that’s still running, the cable industry was entitled to a little tongue-in-cheek payback, no? Some cable guys haven’t forgotten the inflatable pig EchoStar brought to the Consumer Electronics Show, either.

EchoStar officials didn’t take the bait when sent a photo of the novel way cable deployed the company’s equipment.

NTIA Knows Its Govs From Coms

In the waning moments of a National Show chatfest last week in New Orleans, a few federal officials were asked to name their favorite Web sites. Michael D. Gallagher — acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration — had two candidates, the first being his personal Yahoo! page.

“The second one, just to keep it simple and short — why don’t we just say,” he said.

For some reason, people started to laugh as if Gallagher had gaffed. Then Gallagher interjected, “Not dot-com.” Then people really broke up. Why? Because is a porn site.

ESPN U Could Have Been Born

Some of the noise making the rounds in ’Nawlins had ESPN pulling back from an announcement about the launch of a college-sports network. One source who claims to know the thinking in Bristol said it would be called ESPN U and trade heavily on the total sports network’s myriad deals with college conferences. The story went that ESPN even prepared materials for its booth on the show floor. But a decision to shelve the would-be net was made a couple of weeks before.

An ESPN spokeswoman said only: “A college network has been on the drawing board for a long time. A decision has not been made either way.”

CSTV ASAP: What the Hey?

National Show attendees were scratching their heads last week trying to figure out the meaning behind dozens of small, black and white cardboard signs that had been placed in more than 200 New Orleans storefronts, reading “CSTV ASAP.”

Turns out the signs were part of a grassroots marketing effort from CSTV: College Sports Television. CSTV CEO Brian Bedol said he hired a fraternity from nearby Tulane University to place the signs in storefronts in exchange for “$500 and a case of Doritos.” The stores got zip, Bedol said. “That’s the beauty. Sometimes when you’re a nice college kid and you ask someone to do you a favor, they do it.”

Note to Circ: Get Address

Al Gore ended his press conference at the National Show saying he looked forward to telling reporters more in future about his plans for the former Newsworld International — and that he’s eager to get current with cable news.

“And of course, we look forward to meeting with all of you again on a regular basis and to renewing our subscriptions to Multichannel News and to just so many things I can’t even list them all. Thank you very much, I appreciate it.”

Anytime, Al.