Fragmentation idea unites NCTA crowd

Cable panel plugs benefits of diversification

Fragmentation in the TV world is not necessarily a bad thing, but the cable industry needs to continually work to stay ahead of the curve, a panel of top executives argued Sunday on the first day of the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.'s Cable Show '08.

"Fragmentation is a fact of life, and it's going to increase exponentially," News Corp.'s Peter Chernin said during the opening session at the New Orleans convention center. "As long as we stay ahead of the snowball, then I think we'll be OK. But if we just try and protect our existing world we live in, we will be dinosaurs, sending ourselves into extinction."

Viacom's Philippe Dauman said fragmentation should be embraced.

"We think if we focus on the brand and serve the consumers wherever they want it and in a differentiated way, then we will get greater passion and association with our brands," he said.

Comcast's Brian Roberts discussed the advantages of the recently announced mobile broadband company with Sprint and Clearwire, in which Comcast and other cablers have invested.

"You've got a number of companies who want to see the fastest data network to ever be built — and built right away," he said. "It will be a super-fast network that will be national from Day 1, with no holes in the coverage area."

Added Intel's Paul Otellini, whose company also has invested in the network, "This country will finally move from third-world position in wireless communications to lead the world."(partialdiff)