Q&A With CTAM's Char Beales: Opportunities For MSOs

Char Beales has had many roles in her illustrious career, from public television station intern, to a media buyer at JWT, and a researcher at WBBM CBS O&O and WRC NBC O&O and NCTA. From there she moved to CTAM, where as president and CEO she has expertly steered the organization through the myriad of changes in the television landscape since the 1990s.  The one role that she has not mentioned in her Linkedin page is that of role model, as one of the few female CEOs and presidents in the television industry. It is that role for which I personally will miss her as she transitions into retirement at the end of the year. 

In my interview with her, Char talks about her tenure at CTAM, opportunities and challenges for MSOs, the impact of smart TVs, measurement issues, the rate of change in the industry and the future of television.

Her interview videos can be viewed here. Below is a short excerpt from the interview:



CW: What are the greatest opportunities you see for your MSO members over the next year or two?

CB: The MSOs have a phenomenal plant - a highly efficient plant that delivers television, broadband and other digital services to consumers. So I think there is still a lot of upside in cable distribution. Without question, the mix of their products is shifting, but there is still great opportunity in delivering fantastic information and entertainment into consumers’ homes. The MSOs have been smart and they have extended it, whether that is providing Wifi hotspots or doing deals with their content provider partners so that they can take their content to online, mobile and tablets.

The MSOs have a lot of distribution prowess that they can continue to build on to better satisfy consumers. So I think that there is tremendous opportunity. I have to say that I have been in this industry for over 30 years and with each new technology that comes out, the press and the financial analysts write, “Oh my goodness. Cable is doomed!” And that has never been true, and it is not going to be true now.

CW: So along those lines, what do you see as some of the greatest challenges for MSOs over the next couple of years?

CB: The greatest challenge is retro-fitting a plant. Even though we have a nice fat pipe, there are lots of things around it that have to be changed in order to react and be more aggressive in the market. Consumers are demanding that the technology fit their needs. I think that the MSOs have been very creative to take an iPad or a mobile device and turn that into something that can program your DVR and change the channel for you. I think that you are going to see a lot more of that. Consumers are demanding more and faster change , which I think is something that the MSOs have to continue to work on.

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