NMHC members got an inside look into those issues during a one-on-one interview between NMHC President Doug Bibby and Dick Parsons, Former Chairman of Time Warner and Citigroup.
“People have been predicting the demise of the cable bundle since I got into the business,” said Parsons. “But it hasn’t happened yet and I don’t see it happening for the next several years.” That said, Parsons conceded that a wave is starting to build as consumers embrace alternative ways to get the content they want.
“I don’t know if this is a 20-month thing or a 20-year thing,” said Parsons. “What saves cable is human behavior and the resistance to change. Just because technology enables something, doesn’t mean people will actually change.”
As for net neutrality and who should be directing the traffic, Parsons believes the FCC will yield to President Obama’s wishes to regulate internet providers under the same rules that apply to phone companies.
“Cable companies can live with being told that they can’t charge certain users more to get on a faster broadband highway,” said Parsons. “What they don’t want is to be subject to the rules that allow regulators to control pricing and tariffs like they do with phone companies.”
Parsons also touched on the debate as to whether content or distribution is key. “Content may be King,” he said, ‘but distribution is the power behind the throne.”
“You can’t create enough capacity and new features for people to communicate,” said Parsons. And this is a global phenomenon, he noted, relating a story of a blocks long line of Kenyans waiting to charge their cell phones via a mobile charging station.
Africa, he noted, has 55 million televisions and 700 million cell phones. The pattern is similar in India and Latin America.