Time Warner Cable CTO: Cable industry in the 'catbird's seat'

CHICAGO - Despite challenges from over-the-top providers, a weak economy that has consumers rethinking their pay TV purchasing decisions, and even despite programmers who are not always the most cooperative players when service providers want to try something new, the "cable industry and the cable network industry are really in the catbird's seat," Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mike LaJoie believes.

LaJoie issued his sunny industry description during a Cable Show panel session, "Houston, We Have a Solution: Cable CTOs on Innovation, Investment and Invention," where he also pushed his tongue into his cheek to note, "It does take years to become an overnight success."

Cable's success is predicated on staying ahead of the technology curve--not necessarily an easy chore, especially as the industry is challenged by advertising--supported programmers who object to moving content on platforms that are not recognized by Nielsen's counting mechanisms.

"We all recognize and want Nielsen on all the devices," said Tony Werner, Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) CTO.

Not as much as some programmers, particularly Viacom (NYSE: VIA), which has taken TWC to court over content moving within the home onto an iPad.

"It's an issue for us," LaJoie admitted. "But viewership on the iPad doesn't detract at all from the (Nielsen) count."

It's also not enough to detract from the optimism at least the technology part of the industry is feeling these days.

"We think that the killer app on TV happens to be TV," said Werner.

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