Lost in the shuffle of providing "triple play" -- video, phone, data to its cable consumers -- is that cable operators have been way behind TV stations when it comes to local viewer identification. (Then again, there are plenty of consumers who curse cable companies under their collective breaths. You know, it's a utility thing).
A local FiOS show, "Push-Pause," sends out videographers each day with laptops and handheld cameras to find compelling stories in the neighborhood -- such as a blind mechanic who skydives. Comcast is doing something similar with the show "Get Local."
Local cable operators have been promising meaningful local programming stuff like this for years. But their hearts have never been in it. Surely, they have had the resources. But there never seemed to be much money in it.
This goes hand in hand with the cable companies' local advertising sales efforts. While sales have grown, they still pale in comparison to cable's monthly subscriber revenues.
Now things have changed. Cable companies' endemic business has slowed considerably, and they look to shift gears.
Set-top-box data? Cable companies may be more interested in selling set-top data to media agencies, making it a profit center, not necessarily using the data to make local advertising sales.
Instead, cable operators have been working on consumers directly, selling them more stuff --- video, data, and phone.
Now, Comcast wants to give communities more micro-localized programs -- but that stuff is hard to make compelling. The move feels public-service-oriented -- and not in a meaningful way.
Do you think they'll be hounding the not-so-"green" local dry cleaners?
Don't worry. Consumers probably want something else. Wait for "quadruple play" and "quintuple play" to get the most from your cable operator -- whatever its name is.