As Mari mentioned, we spent our afternoon in DC with several of our peers (IP Democracy, Ars Technica, The Technology Liberation Front, Public Knowledge, etc) at the NCTA‘s inaugural Blogger Summit. President Kyle McSlarrow pretty much opened the floor to discuss any topic on our minds. Given the DC crowd, a large percent of the conversation centered on policy and regulatory issues. While I’m generally geekier than that, I didn’t see a point in rehashing my frustration with the evolution of SDV and tru2way at the expense of the initial crop of one-way CableCARD devices.
Instead, what I chose to address is cable’s image problem… relaying a query from Twitter to emphasize the point: “Why are you so hostile towards the Consumer?” Ultimately, it sounds like we’re all in agreement that outreach and customer service need to be improved, something they’re investing heavily in.
Additionally, as a blogger in this space, I pointed out that they have an opportunity to proactively speak to a large number of their customers (or potential customers). And this Blogger Summit is an excellent start. But what I really want is a direct line into Comcast and Time Warner. Most of my coverage is reactive and limited to bone-headed moves. So, invite me up. Show us the cool stuff you’re working on. Be available for a conversation when you announce a cap without a meter or soft launch an Internet video download service. Why is it the only cable company that’s ever reached out to me was to slam a competing telco?
The good news is that the NCTA seems to get it. Heck, Kyle gives them a D- in blogger outreach and points out the irony that their members technically facilitate much of what goes on in the blogoshere yet have contributed very little to the conversation. At the same time, he vows improvements in direct customer engagement – both online and off. As always, it’ll come down to execution. But, at the very least, my day ended positively with an introduction to a Comcast spokesperson. (Thanks, Paul!)
Comcast’s cap and cable-co throughput (present and future) is a post unto itself – which we’ll save for a later date.