The idea that cable needs to improve its often clunky interface and borrow from what works well online permeated the recent National Cable & Telecommun-ications Association show.
Whether online, gaming, mobile or entertainment companies actually partner or form joint ventures with cable operators remains to be seen. But what is clear is that the cable industry has openly heralded the need for convergence.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says that as Comcast increases from 4,000 hours of on-demand content to 10,000 by the end of this year, that content must be easier to find and navigate. "A lot of our work is around how we are going to do better on the interface and make it easier for [viewers] to click," he says. "We look at TV changing to personalization. When you look at Google, people get what they want more than ever before. We have to be there first with that experience."
As telecoms pounce into the video content business, cable operators need to stay relevant, says Tom Tercek, president of Starcom Access, a division of Publicis Groupe's Starcom.
"We can look for clues to how things might be moving by looking to search companies," he says. "Not only is search to find what I am looking for, but also what I might not know exists."
The cable industry is also likely to emulate the online world when it comes to measurement of video-on-demand. Online measurement companies, like Atlas Solutions and Nielsen Media Research, have begun to make moves into the VOD space, applying their learning from the Internet to the new media of time-shifted viewing, says Pat Dunbar, co-founder of Innovations in Digital Advertising.