Politics

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
branding, cable, lobbyists, marketing, tv

Companies:
ncta



Cable Lobbyists Stop Using The Word Cable In Hopes You'll Think Industry Has Evolved

from the song-remains-the-same dept

It often seems like the modern cable industry often goes out of its way to remain decidedly un-modern. Thanks to regulatory capture and limited competition, the sector consistently ranks among the very worst industries in terms of customer satisfaction and support. And whether it's opposing net neutrality or fighting efforts to bring competition to the cable box, you'll often find the industry's top lobbying organization -- the National Cable and Telecommunications Association at the forefront of fighting nearly every pro-consumer initiative that comes down the pike.

That's why it's more than a little amusing to see the NCTA announce this week that it's eliminating the word "cable" from its branding and overall vernacular, apparently as an attempt to modernize the cable sector's image in the Netflix age. According to a statement by the NCTA, the migration away from even using the word cable (despite coaxial very much remaining in use) is a reflection of "how the marketplace is no longer defined by silos of the past." This is how former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell explained the shift:
"Just as our industry is witnessing an exciting transformation driven by technology and connectivity, NCTA’s brand must reflect the vibrancy and diversity of our members,” Powell said. “While our mission to drive the industry forward remains the same, our look now reflects a renewed proactive and energized spirit."
And by "driving the industry forward," Powell of course means supporting initiatives that do the exact opposite.

Most recently that has included using a massive sound wall of disinformation (including some help from the US Copyright Office and the likes of Jesse Jackson) to demonize attempts to bring competition to the cable box. The NCTA has also been busy working overtime to derail the FCC's attempt to apply some relatively basic privacy protections to the cable sector, has also supported protectionist state laws that hinder broadband competition, and has even fought raising the base definition of broadband to 25 Mbps. "Proactive and energized," indeed.

And while the cable industry is quick to argue it's facing more direct competition than ever before, the reality is notably different. As AT&T and Verizon give up on unwanted DSL customers, it's creating a stronger cable monopoly than ever before in many areas. As cable providers consolidate and their telco competitors crumble, cable is seeing 99% of the broadband net additions each quarter. The end result is a cable industry that intends to take full advantage of this lack of competition to impose draconian usage caps on consumer broadband connections in the hopes of thwarting Internet video competitors like Netflix.

All told it's going to take a lot more than a vernacular change to shift consumer and cross industry perception away from the reality that the cable industry -- and specifically the NCTA -- is an anti-consumer, anti-innovation, antiquated turf protection machine.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2016 @ 10:54am

    "Just as our industry is witnessing an exciting transformation driven by technology and connectivity, NCTA’s brand must reflect the vibrancy and diversity of our members,” Powell said. “While our mission to drive the industry forward remains the same, our look now reflects a renewed proactive and energized spirit."


    While reading that, I am sure I actually smelled bullshit... very sure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 21 Sep 2016 @ 11:08am

    Welcome to the silos of tomorrow!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 21 Sep 2016 @ 11:23am

    driving the industry forward

    ... towards that high cliff. And beyond!

    Comcast in the lead with it's aggressively abysmal customer service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 21 Sep 2016 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      Cable industry, want to drive internet innovation forward?

      Then stop interfering with connections and simply be the best dumb pipes and the best prices. That's it! Simple. Do it better than your competitor. (What, no competitor?)

      Even with no competitor, be the best dumb pipe and innovation will happen. And you will be enabling it instead of interfering with it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 21 Sep 2016 @ 11:48am

    Dinosaurs stop using the word Dinosaur

    Hoping you won't notice. Even as they sink into the tarpit.

    "Just as our industry is witnessing an exciting transformation driven by technology and connectivity . . ."

    The cable industry's 'mission' is to stop innovation. Strangle it. Or at least control it in such a way that they can be the exclusive gatekeepers to access it.

    Dumb Pipes. Can you say that? Dumb Pipes. That is the way to connectivity, transformation and innovation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    freakanatcha (profile), 21 Sep 2016 @ 1:19pm

    Cable doesn't want to be called cable.

    Did I miss the part where the NCTA is pledging to bring U.S. broadband speeds up to Estonia's level?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2016 @ 1:37pm

    Fiber-Optic lobby take note, the dinosaurs are alive and kicking. Welcome to the 21st Century.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thad, 21 Sep 2016 @ 3:38pm

    As always, the marketing department's solution is to keep doing the same shit while calling it something different.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2016 @ 5:33pm

    Stop using the words "piracy", "theft" and other loaded buzzwords aimed at eliciting an emotional reaction, then maybe we can start thinking about evolution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2016 @ 6:05pm

    New Name...

    Hey NCTA, how about calling yourselves National CAP and Telecommunications Association. At least you won't need to pay for a new logo or letterhead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2016 @ 9:00pm

    Cable

    Cable, cable, CABLE!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2016 @ 12:33am

    Name Preferences

    NCTA prefers not to be called "cable" any longer.

    A wise man named Hibbert once remarked, "And hillbillies want to be called 'Sons of the Soil,' but it ain't gonna happen."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2016 @ 9:57am

    Same song, second verse, a little bit louder and a little bit worse...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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