Media Insights Q&A With Glen Friedman Of Ideas & Solutions!!

Glen Friedman, owner of the consultancy Ideas and Solutions!! has been involved in the cable operator world for 30 years. In that time he has seen many changes and challenges to the business. In my interview with him, Glen gives us his insights into the changing television landscape and the impact that new technology has on the current operator model. Flexibility and prescience is required in navigating the MSO landscape. 

Here is an excerpt from the interview, available in full here.


CW: Glen, can you tell me your background- how did you get to where you are today?

GF: I joined the industry in 1981 as a Marketing Manager for ATC, now Time Warner Cable.  I worked for ATC / Time Warner for 10 years in a variety of field and corporate positions ending my tenure as Vice President Marketing, Programming and Ad Sales for Manhattan Cable.  I then joined Century Cable as the General Manager for the West L.A. systems and was then recruited to DIRECTV where I was a key architect of the launch plan as Vice President of Consumer Marketing.

CW: Tell me about your current company, Ideas & Solutions!! Inc.

GF: I formed Ideas & Solutions!! 16 years ago. We provide outsourced business development, business and marketing strategy and due diligence services to leading and emerging media and technology companies. Recently we have been focusing on the changing landscape of television, specifically, cord cutting and cord shaving.

 We recently published a study of Gen Y consumers (18-29 year olds) and their orientation and thoughts towards traditional subscription television vs. getting the services without cable, telco or satellite. Interestingly, we found that there was a large, loyal segment of television only viewers but almost 60% have or would consider switching to Over the Top-video service in the future. For this group, cost and value are driving factors as is their comfort with new technology and their desire to get what they want when they want it.

CW: 60% is a large consideration set for the next generation of cable customers. Do you think cord cutting or cord shaving is a business changer for operators?

GF: Both cord shaving and cord cutting will have tremendous impact on all aspects of the cable business for both operators and programmers.  It will impact RPU and marketing costs. For programmers it will be very challenging to hold package positions for networks not secured by retransmission leverage or sports. 

CW: If you were a cable operator today, what would you be doing to plan for the future? 

GF: Invest in service and reliability, identify most at-risk groups and develop specific marketing plans and approaches. Also, measure performance by segment, not just across the entire base.  Invest and take actions to secure new revenues from business services, interactive advertising and home security/home automation.   

CW: What are some opportunities for cable operators?

GF: I believe there are exciting and meaningful opportunities to derive new revenues from Interactive advertising, further penetrating the delivery of voice and data to business customers and through the sales of security and home automation.

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