Author Archives: Michael Turk

Yesterday we took a stroll around the show floor to look for some of the coolest technologies on display at The Cable Show 2012. Via the video below, take a walk with us, then get by the Show floor today to see more for yourself.


Industry Panel at the Tuesday General Session. From left to right: Julia Boorstin (CNBC), Edward Burns, Rio Caraeff (VEVO), Dan Mead (Verizon Wireless) and Neil Smit (Comcast Cable).

The second day of The Cable Show 2012 gets underway with the second general session. The session got off to a start with Verizon announcing a new content discovery service as part of a discussion of content delivery and consumption.

Actor/director Ed Burns joined Rio Caraeff (VEVO), Dan Mead (Verizon Wireless), and Neil Smit (Comcast Cable) to discuss consumer consumption patterns, and new delivery methods to reach an audience.

Careff made the observation that we are in the midst of a change in consumer attitudes that may be generational – with the prior generation valuing content ownership and the newer generation valuing access. All the panelists agree that consumers are demanding more content on more platforms, and providers are innovating to address and shape that demand.

Following the discussion of video delivery, NCTA’s Michael Powell sat down with the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to discuss the regulatory environment, technological innovation, and life at the FCC with a full slate of commissioners.

Genachowski noted that while conference rooms are harder to come by, it has been nice to have a full complement again. The Chairman recognized cable for its commitment to connect low-income families and move the needle on connecting more of the nation to broadband.

Much of the discussion involved the idea that we have done much to encourage broadband adoption, but there is still much to do. Genachowski noted that cable, through Connect 2 Compete and other programs, is doing its part.

– Michael Turk


This was originally published on NCTA’s CableTechTalk blog and was reposted here with permission.

Industry Panel at The Cable Show 2012 Opening General Session. From left to right: Erin Burnett (CNN), Tim Armstrong (AOL), Glenn Britt (Time Warner Cable) and David Zaslav (Discovery Communications).

The Cable Show 2012 kicks off this morning in Boston, and over the next three days, cable will showcase it’s best programming, newest technologies, and the incredible array of ways to consume and interact with content.

At the opening general session, NCTA President Michael Powell spoke of TV as “the original social medium” – with family and friends gathering to laugh, cry, and cheer on their favorite teams.  Television’s – and broadband’s – place in our lives is indisputable with Americans watching TV more than 147 hours a month, and using the Internet for work and play.

The Cable Show will focus on both the business  and the pleasure of cable with sessions discussing business challenges and opportunities. The exhibit floor is  teeming with programming and technology vendors and celeb guest appearances.

The business aspect of the show kicked off during the opening session as well with Tim Armstrong (AOL), Glenn Britt (Time Warner Cable) and David Zaslav (Discovery Networks) taking part in a panel discussion of the revolution in media technology.

The discussion covered a wide range of topics from business models to the potential impact on the industry from technologies like ad skipping to over the top competitors.  Of ad skipping, Britt noted that a resulting decline in ad revenue would likely lead to higher subscription fees or fewer programming choices.

Zaslav noted the Discovery networks ownership of all of its content, and said the network had not jumped into online distribution early because they could not see a good business model.  TV Everywhere, he says, has changed that and offers not only secure distribution, but the inclusion of commercials to bring revenue.

Armstrong, stated that he was the non-TV participant in the discussion, focused on the interplay between traditional TV and new media.

Moderator Erin Burnett (CNN) led the panelists through a wide-ranging discussion that kept the standing room only crowd in place for the entire event.  The opening session was a great kickoff to the discussions that will be taking place in sessions and the show floor over the coming days.

– Michael Turk


This was originally published on NCTA’s CableTechTalk blog and was reposted here with permission.

Privacy, Please panel session at The Cable Show 2011. From left to right: Jules Polonetsky (Future of Privacy Forum), Lou Mastria (Canoe Ventures), Paul Rubin (Technology Policy Institute), Maneesha Mithal (Federal Trade Commission), Daniel Weitzner (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) and Moderator: Susan Israel (Comcast Cable Communications).

Policy talk turned to consumer privacy at the Cable Show as representatives of the FCC, White House, think tanks and Canoe Ventures came together to discuss the need for privacy protection for consumers.

The Administration and Commission focused on ways to streamline privacy notices, make privacy policies more transparent, implement “do not track”, and identify ways to make privacy easier for customers to understand.  Daniel Weitzner of the White House Office of Science and Technology commented that the goal is to allow consumers to understand how their personal information is being collected and used.

A number of questions were raised including the definition of “commonly accepted practices”, which have given some companies pause, and the difference in requirements between regulated an unregulated industries.

Paul Rubin of the Technology Policy Institute noted that the government changes are fairly significant, and he has seen no cost-benefit analysis to assess the burden on companies.  Rubin noted that the legitimate use of personal data has never actually generated a consumer harm.  There is, he says, no data to indicate that legal use is a problem.  While he acknowledges that people don’t want stuff known about them.

He pointed out that it is possible for information to be known, but not by people.  He says we are incapable of understanding that the “knowing” only occurs as aggregated in databases.

Rubin went on to suggest that the government should spend less time regulating and more time educating people on how this information works and the fact that nobody sees the data.

Drawing a clear line between legal use and illegal use, Rubin also noted that inadvertent data disclosure through hacking is a security problem, not a privacy problem.

Jules Polonetsky challenged Rubin’s position and said it’s not about harm.  It seems, he says, that privacy has gone beyond a question of harm and what must be addressed is the value proposition.  Consumers should be made to feel that they are in control, and that the data is in service of the customer’s needs, rather than the company’s.

Polonetsky says the focus should be on data optimization, not data minimization.


Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at

The Cable Show’s third day continues.  Following the Paula Zahn interview with Oprah Winfrey, America’s second lady, Jill Biden, addressed the general session. Biden, a blue star mother, has a family member serving in the military.  She has made the mobilization of support for military families a priority during her tenure as America’s number-two wife.

Biden related the story of a young girl who broke into tears in a classroom after hearing Ave Maria.  The song had been played at the funeral of her father who had been killed in combat.  Biden worked to create a program that helps teachers support the special needs of children from military families.

In addition, Biden, together with Michelle Obama, created Joining Forces, a community program for military families that helps with jobs, education and support services.

After highlighting several other programs to assist military families, she touted the Administration’s efforts in this area.

She closed with a note of thanks to the cable industry for the programming and philanthropy efforts that give back to the military and their loved ones.


Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at

Rumors have been swirling at The Cable Show about Brian Roberts’ keynote and the new initiative Comcast would be rolling out.  Roberts had several announcements to make and didn’t disappoint.

First, Roberts announced that the next step in Project Infinity is to take the information out of the set top box and put it in the cloud.

The traditional EPG is being replaced with a cloud based guide and an RF remote that no longer requires line of sight.  The new guide will allow you to use the numerical keys on your remote like a keyboard, so typing 426 will find HBO, so the user no longer needs to remember the channel number.  Searching 282 could yield search results for QVC, the movie Avatar, the Chicago Cubs, etc.

The guide also features a recommendation engine that will suggest programming across a variety of viewing options.

Comcast has also integrated Facebook into their guide allowing you to see shows that your friends like as a search for television.  It also allows you to Like programs from within the guide to share that information with your friends.

Saving the best for last, Roberts demonstrated the next stage in the evolution of the cable’s high-speed network.  Over 11 miles of cable plant in Chicago, Comcast is testing, over a fiber/coax hybrid network, speeds in excess of 1gbps.

To demonstrate that speed, Roberts downloaded an entire season of 30 Rock in HD in roughly a minute and a half.


Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at

As the final day of the Cable Show gets underway, special guest Oprah Winfrey joined Paula Zahn for a discussion of what it is to be a brand and starting her own television network – the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Oprah says they understand the pulse of her audience, and focuses on nourishing that relationship with her viewers.  She said the Oprah show came out of the truth of who she is, and that is the reason for its success.

With this network, Oprah says she is not interested in throwing shows against a wall, but wants to create shows that open a “heartspace” with the viewer, such that when you leave them you feel better.

Having set a self-imposed three-year deadline to make her network successful, she says that a network is harder to do because she knows what she can do, but finds it hard to judge what other shows can do.  The secret she says, is finding your flow so you are not pushing against it.

Finding a show that resonates and serves the audience is her goal, and she says if she can do that the people will come.  The audience, she says, have sent her emails telling her they are looking for a sense of empowerment.  That is what she is striving for.

Asked who is on her wish list – who she would like to put on the air – she says that her new show, Oprah’s Next Chapter, will be like the magazine.  The magazine, she said, includes only interviews with people that she finds interesting.  She would like to interview Susan Smith not only because she murdered her children, but because of the racial tensions her lie created.  She would also like to interview O.J. Simpson because she has a dream that he will confess to her.

She says the fact that a young girl from a shotgun house in Mississippi can end up creating the OWN network makes that dream possible.


Michael Turk is a Partner in CRAFT | Media / Digital, a full-spectrum communications agency.  Learn more about CRAFT at

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