Cable's freshman CEOs share plans

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Cable's newest CEOs voiced the usual gripes about rising subscriber fees,
opening the Western Cable Show with their plans for generating more revenue that
will stay in their coffers, and out of the hands of programmers.

The coming-out party for AT&T Broadband President and CEO Bill Schleyer
joined by Charter Communications President and CEO Carl Vogel and Time Warner
Cable Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt came Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif.

All three are new on the job, having taken their posts in the last 60
days.

'We're increasingly turning into a collection agency for the programmers,
particularly the sports programmers,' Schleyer lamented at the show's first
general session.

He said operators and programmers need to create a new model, and suggested
repackaging channels' offerings as a possible solution.

Rate hikes have also become increasingly problematic, failing to drive
revenue and creating disgruntled customers.

The typical 5% rate increase MSOs currently levy on customers may keep up
with inflation, but will not produce revenue growth, Time Warner's Britt
said.

'Real growth is going to come from new products and services,' he said.

The three agreed rate hikes would be easier for customers to digest if they
are receiving broadband services like high-speed Internet and video on demand
(VOD).

They identified VOD as a key driver for future revenue.

The main obstacle, according to Britt, is explaining the product to confused
customers.

'There are no technological obstacles. The challenge is . how to price,
package and find what works.' - Allison Romano

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