* Cable shouldn't rush to new models - Discovery CEO
* Distributors, programmers should work together - Cox CEO
By Yinka Adegoke
LOS ANGELES, May 11 Cable TV executives on
Tuesday warned the industry against rushing to put their best
shows on the Web and other platforms before figuring out
business models that won't cannibalize existing revenues on
Top cable executives gathered at the annual Cable Show
event here to discuss, among other things, the best way to deal
with a proliferation of new Web-based and wireless services
which enable their subscribers to access programming without
subscribing to their cable operator.
"This jump to put long-form content on all these platforms
didn't make business sense and didn't make consumer sense,"
Discovery Communications (DISCA.O) Chief Executive David Zaslav
said on a panel with other executives.
Zaslav said there had been a "rush in the industry to put
quality content on a range of platforms."
"Long form content on all these platforms is diminishing
the value of your cable customer," Zaslav added to applause
from an audience of hundreds of cable executives.
Discovery has been a leader in offering short-form versions
of its popular shows online but has declined from pushing
Viacom VIAb.N Chief Executive Phillipe Dauman said his
company continues to experiment with new forms of content
distribution with partners and said that the "business models
Cable programming distributors like Time Warner Cable Inc
TWC.N and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) are keen to continue to have
a say in the aggregation of programming on a range of platforms
beyond linear TV, such as Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPad tablet
computer and Netflix.
Patrick Esser, president of privately held Cox
Communications, said, "We're on a journey to move these to
other platforms. It's a change about how we distribute
Cable's worries have been worsened by infighting between
the programmers and the distributors over affiliate fees.
In the last six months there have been high-profile
programming disputes between Time Warner Cable and News Corp
and Cablevision Systems Corp CVC.N and Scripps Networks
SNI.N among others.
Programmers fear they will lose viewers if they do not
raise affiliate fees to help make more competitive programming.
On the other hand, distributors worry about having to pass on
higher programming costs to customers and drive these
subscribers to seek video entertainment elsewhere.
Esser warned his fellow executives against the long-term
damage of the disputes to the industry.
"If we disrupt our customers' lives by taking channels away
and putting them back on we invite other people into this
While executives were positive about the impact of
technology on the industry in general they cautioned against
rolling out 3-D services in a hurry.
Major cable companies have been experimenting with 3-D
programming with the hope of catching on to the next big
consumer technology trend.
Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said the industry should
be patient with consumers' adoption of technology.
"We have to pay attention to the consumer. It can't be us
pushing this; it's got to come from the consumer."
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Richard Chang)