Today the Independent Show kicks off in Monterey Bay. This is the American Cable Associations, ACA, yearly event. A crowd of about 800 professionals will gather to discuss the future for independent cable operators. My question is – what will the cable guys do to make the transition smooth for their subscribers and themselves? Will it be part of the Independent Show to present solutions?
The agenda doesn’t really target the DTV transition as such. But Mr. Matt Polka, CEO and President of ACA, says in an interview with Cable 360, that preparedness for the DTV transition will be one of the main themes in the panels. Mr. Polka also concludes that buzz among ACA members will be the DTV transition. His take is: “In sum, plan for the best, and be prepared to handle the worst”.
ACA members have a special situation in my view. They operate mostly in rural America. Areas were broadcast TV prevails together with satellite. There is a larger portion of seniors still living in their houses. They belong to a group that generally have a harder time to adjust and understand the transition.
NAB will broadcast Crawls: text messages about the transition. They are a great way to reach viewers with OTA reception. There is one side effect: Crawls will reach cable viewers if the operator is using the signal from OTA. This will make cable viewers jump. The good thing is that they might ask themselves if they are affected, on the other they might think that they are affected.
But for cable operators the message should be the opposite: Stay were you are with your cable TV – you are not affected by the transition. Cable operators have many options and tools to use in the effort to bring information to their subscribers. (Also – to keep the subscriber is important) They should make use of them in sync with Nabs campaigns. Are they doing that today? Are they in meetings in DC about what message that is going to unite the stakeholders to get a clear understanding among the audience about the transition?
In rural parts of the country consumers are probably mixing different ways to receive TV. In the living room cable- or satellite TV, in the bedroom there is a TV maybe with rabbit ears. And people really want to view TV as they are used to. Cable operators will be loaded with questions from consumers.
Will they be prepared? And in what way will they prepare themselves? I wonder why they haven’t made space in the agenda during the ongoing conference; this is a perfect moment to start preparing for the transition – especially if you are a cable guy.