Commentary

What's Your TV Name? Or Are You Just 'CATV'?

Legend has it that none other than Ted Turner believed the budding CATV industry in the 1970s needed a cleaner, more identifiable, name: “cable” sounded better -- and he pushed that concept.

CATV (which stands for Community Antenna Television) surely would have been a harder name to say, interpret, or make its way onto a cool-looking logo.

Flash-forward a few decades and television executives now say it’s “all TV” -- that it is virtually impossible to identify major differences between broadcast, syndication and cable, apart from the occasional profanity that makes its way into ad- supported cable networks.

The differences are even smaller in juxtaposition to the new kid on the block: digital. Sizing up broadcast and cable networks versus short five- minute videos on YouTube or TV shows on TV Everywhere apps isn’t much different. A screen is just a screen? No... and yes.

Now the cable industry’s main annual conference, “The Cable Show,” is getting a new name: INTX, The Internet And Television Expo. See any mention of cable in that name? I thought not. (Wonder what Ted Turner thinks now?)

Nowadays few “cable” networks use that word in their brand names. CNN? Find me anyone who calls it “Cable News Network.”Everyone wants transformation and growth. The Music Television channel, or MTV, hasn’t been only about music for a long time.

For many years, program services just wanted to be “TV” networks -- that elicited “premium,” “class,” and hopefully big advertising dollars.  Now, perhaps they need to morph “media” into their company names or conferences to gain extra scratch.

In the early years of The Cable Show, TV business executives attended to see new channels. More recently they’ve come to see new technologies. So a name change makes sense.

Business executives love to address and credit technology. Using  the words “Internet” and “Television” are a nice segue -- but shouldn’t be the ultimate destination.

Still, “INTX”? Hmmm. Does that sound much better than the head-scratchingly strange acronym, CATV? Then again, we also have IPTV (Internet Protocol Television). So pick your media brand poison.

1 comment about "What's Your TV Name? Or Are You Just 'CATV'? ".
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  1. Mike Mellon from Retired TV research guru, September 19, 2014 at 12:35 p.m.

    Nice article Wayne. I wonder if that idiot will comment on this one.

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