Anyone who has watched any CEO-centric General Session over the years knows that as men (and occasionally women) running companies that are, more often than not, publicly traded , there’s not a whole lot of time spent taking the gloves off and — if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor — lobbing hand-grenades.
Given that, there was not much in the way of fireworks at Tuesday’s Opening General Session featuring Jeff Bewkes, Chase Carey, Pat Esser, Glenn Britt, Philippe Dauman and Neil Smit, all ably moderated by Liz Claman of Fox Business News.
What I found newsworthy was the relatively somber the tone of the session took, at least initially. I suppose some of that mood was understandable. We all know the economy remains a work-in-progress. We know too that cable faces certain competitive challenges. And we know that the next generation of consumers remain a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
It was when Bewkes looked out in the house yesterday morning and said earnestly, “Let’s all cheer up; this is not the music industry,” that people did indeed start to cheer up.
In fact, noticeably.
Bewkes then stole a line from ad man extraordinaire Hal Riney, via Ronald Reagan‘s 1984 reelection campaign, and called the times in which we’re living and working, “Morning in the cable industry.”
He then went on to laud cable’s platform and detailed how all these competing platforms have been made possible because of cable’s remarkably robust infrastructure. “The reason you can get so many things on tablets is because of the infrastructure the people in this room helped build,” said Bewkes, at one point even prompting the crowd to give themselves a hand.
It was a small moment, but an important one, and it helped ratchet up the mood in what turned out to be a great Day One of The Cable Show.
To read more from M.C. Antil, visit his blog at mcantil.com.