Facing new regulations on broadband and declining fortunes in video, the U.S. cable industry could use the fresh European perspective of Patrick Drahi, said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.
"When you look at someone like Patrick, who is coming into the market, who we do business with outside the U.S. already, I think his coming in is going to be a real positive force here," Dauman said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference.
The Viacom chief's comments come one day after Altice, the French telecom conglomerate Drahi chairs, agreed to pay $17.7 billion to acquire Cablevision (NYSE: CVC). Drahi, who had already purchased mid-sized operator Suddenlink during the spring for $9.1 billion, has pledged to continue acquiring U.S. cable companies.
"You can leverage technology across a broader scale and presumably roll up some of the smaller players who couldn't make that kind of investment, that will again improve the ecosystem in those parts of the country that are being rolled up," Dauman said.
He added that with investments in programming and advanced video systems, pay-TV has an opportunity to reclaim lost customers.
"The opportunity is there again by satisfying consumers and having a better consumer interface, which we're working with our partners on, with having better VOD capability, and all the other products that particularly young consumers are looking for," Dauman said. "There's an opportunity for stabilization and ultimately potential for growth."
A day before Dauman's comments, Drahi laid out his Cablevision plans, noting that Cablevision will have markedly reduced executive salaries under Altice's watch.
Altice has told investors to expect margins as high as 50 percent once it completes its overhaul of Cablevision's operations.
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