Sachs: Cable Needs to Stimulate Demand


After spending $60 billion on system upgrades, the cable industry needs to stimulate demand for new digital services, National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Robert Sachs said last Monday at the National Show.

Since 1996, billions of dollars in cable-system investment have yielded 16 million digital-cable subscribers, about 8 million high-speed data subscribers and 1.7 million cable-telephony customers.

But Sachs indicated the industry's growth curve has further to go.

"We're building our nation's broadband infrastructure. But we need to create more applications to increase consumer demand," Sachs said in his keynote remarks here.

Sachs expressed confidence that video-on-demand services like Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Mag Rack and subscription-VOD offerings from Home Box Office Inc., Showtime Networks Inc. and Starz Encore Group LLC would drive consumer demand.

"The 'something more' that consumers want is the ability to watch the programming they want whenever they want to watch it," Sachs said. "To consumers, video-on-demand and subscription video-on-demand mean convenience and control."

High definition television should also help, he added.

"Last week's announcement by the 10 largest cable operators to offer up to five [high-definition television] channels will only bolster cable's competitiveness and value proposition to consumers," Sachs said.