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Cable Exec Suggests Changing Consumer Behavior, Not Business Model

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the customers-should-like-what-we-want-them-to-like dept.

Businesses 675

Techdirt has pointed out yet another cable exec that just doesn't quite get it. Comcast's COO, Steve Burke, recently urged the TV industry to find ways to "get consumers to change" rather than figure out better methods to cater to demand. "'An entire generation is growing up, if we don't figure out how to change that behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors, we're going to wake up and see cord cutting.' How many consumers, in any market, are focused on 'respecting' vendors' revenue streams? How, exactly, does he propose to effect this sea change? And why not just develop products that consumers will willingly pay for, rather than trying to change consumer behavior in such a fundamental way?"

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675 comments

dinero (5, Insightful)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30007968)

If I was making 2.2 million dollars a year salary [forbes.com] I would probably say exactly what my bosses wanted to hear, too.

Perspective (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008240)

And why not just develop products that consumers will willingly pay for, rather than trying to change consumer behavior in such a fundamental way?"

Because he feels the same way you do. You don't seem at all eager to adapt your behavior to the terms on which products are being marketed. You instead want to force the providers to change.

So, you don't want to change, you just want to do things your way and force others to change. The provider also doesn't want to change. They want to do things their way and force you to change.

Both parties want to give little and receive much. Consumers want to pay little and get lots of high quality content. Providers want to expend few resources in content provision and receive lots of money.

I'd say the two groups are more alike than different. One just has more members than the other.

I've got mod points! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30007974)

Post ITT if you want your comment modded!

In other Words (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30007988)

"It's better for millions of people to change instead of a couple thousand! I know because I'm COO! Say it twice! COOCOO!"

Crap article, again. (5, Informative)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008252)

I was all ready to pop out a funny, pithy comment like "Cable Consumer Suggests Changing Cable Exec", but decided to RTFA (yeah, stupid me, here, let me turn in my geek card ...), when I realized that it's just a bunch of manufactured hype. The Techdirt article that the Slashdot article is based on is based on is a piece of crap. Here's a link to the original article [broadcastingcable.com] rather than the Techdirt regurgitation.

I get the feeling this guy is being quoted somewhat out of context. Techdirt goes on a rant about how the cable companies need to develop new business models, not just beat up consumers. From a quick glance at the www.broadcastingcable.com article, it appears that he's saying that if cable doesn't evolve their business models, they'll bet run over by internet-based content providers. The original article discussed targeted ad content and better-than-Nielsen viewing measurement as future directions cable could move in to improve their business model. So, yeah, the Techdirt guy has his head up his ass.

Now, with that being said, I'm sure that whatever "new" business models the cable companies dream up will largely consist of overcharging consumers, providing crappy service, and extending DRM tentacles into everything they touch, and hence won't really be seen as a win here on Slashdot, and certainly won't be all that different from their current customer abuse.

Rupert Murdoch eat your heart out (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30007990)

I think Rupert has finally found his soul mate.

Re:Rupert Murdoch eat your heart out (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008292)

I believe that neither Murdoch nor the bozo quoted in the article has a soul (whether you're talking about the religious or the poetic sense...)

WE must change? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30007992)

I'm sorry it is your business model that needs to change, not US.
There were many fine works when copyright didn't even exist; hell, if copyright existed, we wouldn't have had Shakespeare's.
Well, if they expect to live off the same franchises over and over in perpetuity, and not really work, I can see where their problem is.
After all, it's all men in suits who would kill themselves just for money.

Re:WE must change? (4, Insightful)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008298)

Inadvertently correct...

There were many fine works when copyright didn't even exist; hell, if copyright existed, we wouldn't have had Shakespeare's.

We would have had Bacon's.

Re:WE must change? (5, Interesting)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008314)

I would have modded the story a troll, if possible. There are two ways of looking at things that are not contradictory. Changing business plans and changing consumer behavior. While he is proposing to change consumer behavior, obviously the only way he has to do that is through their product line up ( ie changing his business model). Like the whole super sizing of popcorn at movie theaters. its 4.59 for small (8 oz), 4.75 for a medium (12 oz), or 4.80 for a large(24 oz). The product is set up to sell a large volume of popcorn. If he made all sizes an equal price per oz, then that would likely change consumer behavior towards buying smaller sizes of popcorn. In fact the current model was designed to get people to buy popcorn at a high price, but think of it as a value. Tricky, huh.

So the business model will most definitely change, but most likely not in a way that will make any of us ( with brains ) happy. Then agian, I don't watch tv much. Already pulled that plug a while ago.

wut (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008002)

My mind is blown.

Um. (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008004)

No?

-consumer

Re:Um. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008056)

Luckily I'm pretty sure that the collective drive everyone else has for free entertainment is going to overpower anything they try and do. Its like trying to stop teens from getting porn.
 

Just release TV shows for free (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008006)

And make your money on touring.

Re:Just release TV shows for free (5, Insightful)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008058)

Just release TV shows for free

And make your money on touring.

Hardy har, so funny. Or maybe instead they could make their money the way broadcast television has successfully done so for longer than most of us have been alive? Hint: advertising does actually work. Then just offer a subscription service to folks who don't want to see ads. Easy as pie. Shame the cable companies are too busy double dipping (subscription AND ads) to realize consumers hate it.

Re:Just release TV shows for free (2, Insightful)

pentalive (449155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008244)

Sure advertising works, nobody would ever install Add-Block or use the pop-up blockers that are popular in many web browsers.

Re:Just release TV shows for free (3, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008308)

Advertising doesn't work for me. I use a DVR to skip all commercials all the time. Maybe product placement works a little. I know that for the next month I will laugh whenever I see a Cisco logo because of last nights 30 Rock. So I guess we can call that 'working'.

It's both (4, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008010)

On one hand, yes, media companies (and indies, etc) should develop things that people are willing to pay for, instead of putting out remakes and rehashes on a regular basis (i.e. Fark's "In yet another sign that Hollywood has truly run out of new ideas...")

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it. If you don't like the quality of the offering at the price it is offered, then don't buy it. It's quite simple.

I now expect 4 dozen posts, making car analogies, expounding on the "false" argument of lost sales, and pointing out that I'm likely an astroturfing RIAA/MPAA shill.

Have fun!

What about a mountaineering excuse? (3, Interesting)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008102)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it.

Because...it was there.

Re:It's both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008130)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it. If you don't like the quality of the offering at the price it is offered, then don't buy it. It's quite simple.

Yeah, pretty tired of this "it's their fault, they MAKE me steal" crap.

Re:It's both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008164)

Perhaps they underestimate the ability of aggregate human behavior to be entirely unethical when not properly incentivized :)

Re:It's both (0, Troll)

Vlobulle (1286874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008188)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it.

Maybe.

But we don't really need them, since there are plenty of ethical reasons to pirate something for the very sake of pirating.

Re:It's both (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008194)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it. If you don't like the quality of the offering at the price it is offered, then don't buy it. It's quite simple

What about me wishing to simply send high definition video and 7.1 audio to the display of my choice without having to purchase 'special' hardware?

Re:It's both (3, Funny)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008212)

You're not an RIAA/MPAA shill, but after:

"I now expect 4 dozen posts, making car analogies, expounding on the "false" argument of lost sales, and pointing out that I'm likely an astroturfing RIAA/MPAA shill.

Have fun!"

you're definitely trolling. :)

Re:It's both (0, Troll)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008214)

Unfortunately your argument holds as little ground as the ones you shunned in your post.

The fact of the matter is if:
A) No sales are lost because of pirating (disputable)
and B) Nothing is being destroyed

Then why is it unethical? Digital reproduction isn't killing babies (despite what 60 minutes will have you believe) [cbsnews.com]

Now I agree with you. While something is still illegal we are not to break that law citing that it is 'ethical' or 'not hurting anyone'. Our job, as the citizens of a country, is to have it changed through legal matters. Consult your local representative and let them know your position. This online 'revolution' is just digging a hole.

I am against the current copyright laws because they are out dated. They were designed to prevent illegal copying and profit of one's work. This inspired people to create original content and not copy others. Unfortunately this is used to stop people from accessing media they enjoy.

Re:It's both (1)

Coriolis (110923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008236)

Well, I'd like to ask a counter question. I freely acknowledge that there is no legal excuse for pirating something. But what is the ethical reason one should expect to be paid for, say, a movie?

Re:It's both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008306)

Because someone put up money and laboured to produce it? That sounds like one to me.
 
Otherwise you should explain to me why anyone anywhere should ever pay for anything.

Re:It's both (1)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008264)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it. If you don't like the quality of the offering at the price it is offered, then don't buy it. It's quite simple.

I think you meant to say "don't bother with it" rather than "don't buy it."

By extension, if you're not willing to pay the price i.e. you don't value the item in question all that much, is it really worth your time at all? I tend to think the answer is no.

Re:It's both (2, Insightful)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008276)

Your points are valid. However, as I mentioned twice below, these execs are finding piracy a problem because they're not providing the customers with the way they want to use their content. Downloading, copying, etc., along with pricing, a la carte programming, and more. These are the things people want. You give people what they want in a convenient package and you'll get rich (unless it's free...). But no, they are trying to force us consumers to fit what THEY want, which doesn't sit that well with us. Therefore, people just find alternate ways to take what they want. Until they start making things even more convenient, customizable, or reasonably priced, people will buck their system and they'll just try even harder to beat us into submission. Not the best way to get on your customers' good sides, you know..?

Re:It's both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008286)

There's no real ethical imperative to pay for it either though. There's a cultural belief in one is many cases - but these things change all the time (e.g. sex before marriage and divorce being massively more acceptable now than years past).

When it comes right down to it, intellectual property rights (property rights in general actually) don't even come close to having as strong as ethical ground as something like murder.

Re:It's both (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008352)

There's no real ethical imperative to pay for it either though. There's a cultural belief in one is many cases - but these things change all the time (e.g. sex before marriage and divorce being massively more acceptable now than years past).

When it comes right down to it, intellectual property rights (property rights in general actually) don't even come close to having as strong as ethical ground as something like murder.

Yes, if you look at the history of human culture the idea that stories or ideas can belong to one individual or group is a relatively recent one (about 200 years). In fact we only have access to our cultures and our stories because they were copied and retold over the ages. So when we have now a generation that has no ethical objections to copying and redistributing material (especially that of faceless corporations and not that of independent artists) it may just be a return to the mean.

The timing for it is couldn't be better. Where artists used to have (pre-entertainment industry) one wealthy maecenas, they can now have a multitude of patrons fund their work through (micro) payments on the net (crowdfunding).

Re:It's both (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008290)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it. If you don't like the quality of the offering at the price it is offered, then don't buy it. It's quite simple.

This ignores the possibility that piracy exists in a market vacuum left by a bad business model.

It's true that there will always be some people who prefer to leech, but how much of the pirating is done because the market is improperly or under served?

Maybe it's not just about quality or price, but also convenience and availability.
=Smidge=

Re:It's both (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008294)

People justify making pirated copies of copyrighted works because

A) Their works are overpriced
B) It's easy to do
C) They can't stop us with their puny DRM
D) Uhh... what's wrong with that?

And this Comcast genius thinks that by getting everybody on board* with solving D that he'll make more money^H^H^Hsave the cable industry?

Somebody drive* this MPAA shill to the funny farm.

*Obligatory vehicle analogies.

What about a gossip excuse? (1)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008300)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it.

“Information on the Internet is subject to the same rules and regulations as conversation at a bar.” ~ George Lundberg

Re:It's both (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008338)

On the other hand, there's no real ethical or legal excuse for pirating something, simply because you don't like the price of it.

That does not cover the entire scope of cases where a potential customer has acquired content that the industry has not approved.

I now expect 4 dozen posts, making car analogies, expounding on the "false" argument of lost sales, and pointing out that I'm likely an astroturfing RIAA/MPAA shill.

See above.

How stupid can he possibly be? (5, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008018)

Ask any IT professional what's the hardest thing to change?

User behavior.

Technology is supposed to make out lives easier, not the other way around.

Re:How stupid can he possibly be? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008136)

Ask any IT professional what's the hardest thing to change?

User behavior.

Well, in my experience, I've found that really depends on how hard you hit them.

Re:How stupid can he possibly be? (3, Interesting)

asleep06 (1229418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008172)

That's because IT departments don't hire advertisers. The advertising industry knows pretty well that it's possible to change consumer behavior. That's the whole point of their job. See: De Beers. [wikipedia.org]

Re:How stupid can he possibly be? (1)

DarkMage0707077 (1284674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008186)

Technology is supposed to make out lives easier, not the other way around.

So easier lives aren't supposed to make technology?

Re:How stupid can he possibly be? (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008364)

Except that isn't the way it works. None of these companies sell you what you want to buy, they sell you what they want you to buy.

After all, where is the demand for FairPlay, Macrovision, HDCP, and phones locked to one carrier? Where is the demand for more expensive privatized water, gas, electricity, and trash collection? Where is the demand for slow digital boxes from your cable company, when modern televisions can show digital video just fine on their own?

It is the nature of modern capitalism to lead the consumer. Demand is a resource to be managed and controlled. And you don't need an explicit cartel to do it, with supply all on the same page, using the same talking points, and the government in deep in their pockets.

Alright then (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008026)

"get consumers to change"

Alright then, I'll change. I'll change to a different provider.

Nothing new (2, Interesting)

idiot900 (166952) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008030)

Changing customers' behavior is exactly what advertising and marketing are meant to accomplish. It's just usually aimed at getting people to buy your product. Here, instead of "Buy our $FOO now!" the message is "Don't download our $FOO!". I don't see why I should be angrier about this than about advertising in general.

Re:Nothing new (3, Insightful)

bigjarom (950328) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008124)

Advertising yes, marketing no. Good marketing (including market research) allows a company to realize that the customer doesn't care about the specific product they sell, but rather about the benefit that it provides. Cable companies provide entertainment. Customers don't care how they get that entertainment. The cable exec from the article doesn't understand this. Classic example is Xerox shifting from photocopy machines to 'Document Management.'

Re:Nothing new (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008156)

This is because they've been screwing up for years.
Their marketing efforts have all been directed towards "Want our $FOO!"
Only now are they realizing, no, they really meant "BUY our $FOO!" That's a much harder sell, because people naturally have an inclination to want things, and don't naturally have an inclination to pay for them.

Re:Nothing new (1)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008216)

The problem these execs have is this: They're not trying to get you to buy their product. They're trying to STOP you from taking it in any form you want. Good luck there... people always find a way to take it anyway. Same thing with music and DRM, movies and DRM, software, etc.

What they don't see is that, if you let people copy, download, and watch the programming when they want, they'll have a great business going.. As I mentioned down a little farther, if they keep fighting the people, it'll just get worse. Try to fit the niche, don't try to force people into what you think that niche should be. Square peg, round hole and all that...

Might I be the first (4, Interesting)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008034)

Might I be the first to give a gigantic "Whoosh!" in Comcast's general direction. I cut that cord a few years ago and with the help of MythTV, Boxee, Hauppage, Turtle Beach, Netflix, and Xbox Live have never looked back for a second.

Re:Might I be the first (2, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008138)

And the Internet connection required to make any of that less than worthless come from where exactly?

Re:Might I be the first (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008166)

That would be AT&T ladies and gentlemen. I could also go with MTCO a local competitor if I was interested in having a home phone line, but I'm not, so AT&T is the only option for dry-loop DSL.

Re:Might I be the first (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008272)

AT&T. Comcast. Same thing, different logo.

I'm being a bit of a smartass but the point is valid, none-the-less. Were there actual competition, then there might be significant differences between the companies but, for all intents and purposes, they're the same thing with different logos.

Re:Might I be the first (2, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008284)

So you are still beholden to a big corp; just a different big corp. I don't see one would boast about this.

Re:Might I be the first (4, Funny)

Jonboy X (319895) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008318)

And the Internet connection required to make any of that less than worthless come from where exactly?

My neighbor's WEP-protected access point.

Re:Might I be the first (1)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008170)

That's great! But, your solution won't necessarily work for the general, non-tech-savvy public, though. But you could always start a business to get people up and running, and provide tech services when they need them.

Re:Might I be the first (3, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008238)

Absolutely. They missed the boat by 5-10 years. Had they started offering convenient digital services instead of stubbornly trying to protect their existing, entrenched businesses, they probably could have transitioned people into a new business model back when everybody was still used to paying through the nose for content. But no, that would require work, and vision, and why would you do that when you're making money hand over fist and the good times will never end?

So yeah, just another industry that failed to adapt to change when they had the opportunity. Well, you missed it buddy.

Of course we'll see a shift (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008042)

If nothing changes, producers will stop producing when they realize they'll never make back their $250 millon in production costs. The cable companies won't be able to keep subscribers if all they're showing are Gilligan's Island reruns. They'll be poorer and we'll be richer as a result. Is there still a problem?

Re:Of course we'll see a shift (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008122)

Is there still a problem?

ACTA. If legislation makes them more money than actually producing stuff that's what they'll go for.

Re:Of course we'll see a shift (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008180)

Is there still a problem?

Depends... how attached are you to really crappy episodes of Heroes? Or *shudder* Survivor LXIV?

Re:Of course we'll see a shift (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008248)

...if all they're showing are Gilligan's Island reruns

I'm hoping for a Gilligan's Island "reboot". Something darker and edgy. Too bad Chris Farley is dead, he would have made an awesome, cocaine addicted Skipper. I would still download torrents of it instead of paying for cable, because I believe great art should be a labor of love, unsullied by commercial interests :-D

Re:Of course we'll see a shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008342)

They did that but they called it "Lost". I hear it's gotten even somewhat popular.

Re:Of course we'll see a shift (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008268)

Oh noes - does this mean they might not make another Transformers movie? What will the world do without the high-quality creative output of geniuses like Michael "Explosions!!!!one1!!!!" Bay?

It's way too late for change (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008064)

I'm raising my daughters completely away from the traditional media revenue stream. We don't go to movies, we rent them when they come to DVD. We don't watch broadcast TV at all. They will be the next generation of media consumers, and there is no way that they are going to change in order to provide profits to the media companies. I recall growing up watching a lot of TV. So far my daughters are not being exposed to that lifestyle. Maybe they will be the outliers, but if they are not media companies are in big trouble.

Re:It's way too late for change (-1, Flamebait)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008224)

We don't go to movies, we rent them when they come to DVD. We don't watch broadcast TV at all.

Hey kids! Why watch the movies you want on a 50-foot tall screen today, when you can see them on a 30-inch tall screen in several months? Also, there is a serial arsonist in your neighborhood. You will find out about when that info is released on DVD!

Not very smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008068)

Changing consumer behaviour is harder than changing the market. And it will cost less rights.

By applying Ockhams razor, this idea is to be revoked!

Entitlement (5, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008076)

The sense of entitlement is sickening. No business has a right to make profit, and I certainly don't have to "recpect" their revenue stream. This generation grew up wanting certain things, the dinosaurs in the content industries refused to adapt and now people are used to getting music, movies, and games they want for free. There are now millions of people who will go their entire lives without purchasing much content, and they were created by the greed and incompetence of the RIAA/MPAA and friends.

Re:Entitlement (1)

Neutral_Observer (1409941) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008258)

The point is paying for content you don't want. I don't speak spanish so I do not need telemundo buy HAVE to pay for it. If cable/satelite TV were ALA CARTE then people would subscribe to that. Like Sirius XM with their ALA CARTE plans.

He's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008080)

While I am sure his comments will get the standard Techdirt drubbing, the reality is that he is correct. It doesn't sound nice to say it, but at this point, the consumers are wrong, and here is why:

The main focus of your post Mike is the concept of "changing to match what customers want". The reality is that if consumers did not want the programming, that would be a good answer. But it is clear through the actions of many that the programming is valuable and desirable, and people are willing to go a long way to get it, no matter the legality. So you have pirate downloads, trafficked cable boxes, sat signal piracy, people paying for VPNs to be able to do P2P, etc. All of this for what? To get the product that the cable company is selling.

So "what customers want" is what they are selling. That is established, it's a clear fact.

So, now "changing to match what customers want", I would have to guess that you are suggesting that the cable companies should drop their subscription model. Perhaps they could run on donations, or perhaps upsell people to dinner with a technician, perhaps selling limited edition "I met the cable company president" t-shirts, or perhaps autographed limited edition flat screen TVs that they could sell for double the price of normal.

Seriously, the only "change" they seem to need to make to meet what the customer wants is to give their product away for free, on demand, on any device, at any time, from anywhere, and at no cost. Sounds like a great plan, and as soon as you explain how they are going to pay for it...

When what the consumer wants is "something for nothing", it's pretty much a non-starter discussion.

Re:He's right (1)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008356)

You rule out the option that content will be created that has little cost that people will still want. I enjoyed Paranormal Activity more than I did Transformers 2. Guess which had a smaller budget?What about movies [vodo.net] that rely solely on donations and ARE being successful?

One of the changes that needs to occur is the consumers need more power over what they want to watch, not what they want us to see. I've stopped watching TV because I hate the dribble that's on there and the only things I *do* want to watch appear when I'd rather be out with friends.

Comcast has it wrong. I'm working for a telecommunications company and we ARE looking into how to make the experience work for the consumer who wants it now and wants it cheap. People will still pay for content, they just don't want to be charged $20+ for a DVD.

Good luck with that (0, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008086)

Why in the hell should anybody respect anyone else's revenue streams? How about Comcast respect MY revenue stream by giving me free cable?

FUCK their revenue stream. Fix copyright and I'll respect that, otherwise they can fuck off. Legalize and regulate marijuana and I'll respect those regulations, otherwise they can fuck off too.

I'm not going to respect the disrespectable or the disrespectful. WTF are these guys smoking, anyway?

Times they are a changin' (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008088)

I don't care for commercials and I want to watch my programs at my convenience. That's really all that has changed.

Is it really that huge a leap for Cable Companies to figure out how to supply a video-on-demand only service?

He Gets it!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008100)

Make something the consumers want to pay for !!! THANK YOU...

I bought Oblivion because it was worth it. I purchased HL2 and all its episodes because.. yeah.. it was worth it... Operation Flashpoint, yep.. really good...

Then, there is all this garbage being created.. Music wise.. Beyonce: Put a ring on it.. One of the dumbest songs to ever exist, what was she on when she wrote it? People, and companies are becoming brands.. some people fall for the crap they produce, but the smarter population tries before they buy. If it truly is worth it, they will pay for it.

not without precedent (2, Insightful)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008104)

Microsoft proves it can be done with every release of Windows.

Re:not without precedent (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008150)

That must be why most people are still using XP.

Because chaning behvior is what they do. (2, Interesting)

tail.man (203483) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008106)

Watch video here..

http://informationliberation.com/?id=8339

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized." - Edward Bernays

I'm no financial wizard, but... (1, Flamebait)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008118)

...I'm guessing he is correct. Its the spin being put on what he is saying that is outrageous:

The quotes really are quite stunning. Burke basically seems to be saying the focus needs to be on figuring out ways to get consumers to change, rather than changing to match what customers want. A business model based on going against what consumers want doesn't seem likely to last that long.

What I'm stunned by is the assumption that Comcast's COO should be looking for ways to give people as much content as they want without them paying Comcast a penny to receive it. Because lets be fair - this is exactly what customers want.

To color every contrary desire as stunning or greedy is just ignorant.

Re:I'm no financial wizard, but... (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008220)

Comcast's COO should be focused on giving people what they want at a price that will make money for Comcast.

If people want downloadable media and the existing corporations refuse to provide it legitimately, it is clear that people will simply take it illegitimately.

If instead the large content providers had simply created distribution mechanisms where digital media could be obtained easily at a reasonable price with reasonable usage terms then people would have had much less incentive to search out pirated media.

Re:I'm no financial wizard, but... (3, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008332)

Comcast's COO should be focused on giving people what they want at a price that will make money for Comcast.

And for all we know, this is exactly how he intends to go about getting those behavioral changes he is advocating. Though, I suspect he'd advocate instilling some sense of value in these customers first.

If people want downloadable media and the existing corporations refuse to provide it legitimately, it is clear that people will simply take it illegitimately.

That is clear, you're correct. What is unclear is whether there is a middle ground. It is entirely possible that even with penny DVD's people will still take it illegitimately. It doesn't take a huge imagination to see where that would wind up leading.

If instead the large content providers had simply created distribution mechanisms where digital media could be obtained easily at a reasonable price with reasonable usage terms then people would have had much less incentive to search out pirated media.

Again, absolutely true. There would be less incentive. Whether 1% or 100% less, is unclear.

I for one don't find fault in the content providers for having their own point of view, even when it doesn't match my own.

Too late (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008126)

It's a bit too late, you missed our generation, and it has already spread to our parents (who are pissed that their TVs now require several boxes and don't just 'work') and our children certainly aren't going to 'rebel' by embracing the corporate message.

The only way to earn respect is by showing respect. And, last I checked, my television/vidcard/cablebox/musicplayer/gameconsole all don't seem to want to trust me or each other. I'll continue to go with the more convenient, fully compatible, more functional, product.

When my iPhone decides it won't try to automatically erase itself after I reinstall my OS,
When my cable box outputs an unencrypted signal... hell, when I don't need to rent cable boxes just to access channels my TV can technically display,
When I can install a new hard disk in my game console without thrashing the firmware...

Start with that, and then I'll listen again. At that point, then we can discuss some of the other built in annoyances you have contrived.

What are they smoking..? (1)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008144)

I still don't understand what kind of dreamland these people are living in. Between cable/satellite execs (and their ISP businesses, like Comcast), **AA execs, etc, I would be seriously surprised if they weren't very much like we are when they shop around for a deal and expect to be waited on with proper service. But if they're in charge, they can just demand that customers conform to their ideas and business models? HA! Good luck! They'll be losing customers faster than they could've possibly imagined. WE just need to put our money where our mouth is. (Of course, that's difficult to do sometimes with stupid monopolies on service areas...) Don't buy upgrades. Change service. Find some other means to get what we need. They need us. We don't need them.

I work in a service-driven company. If we treated all of our customers the way cable execs treat theirs, we'd quickly go bankrupt. Customers don't want cookie-cutter programming plans and high prices with no competition and crappy customer service. They want what's a good fit for them. Give customers what they want, and they'll do just fine. Keep fighting the system and it'll just get worse.

Segmented Marketing (3, Interesting)

Kate6 (895650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008154)

When you go to the supermarket to buy a particular product... Let's say KETCHUP... You'll usually find you have several different brands available to you. The more expensive name brands are usually placed right at eye level, whereas the least expensive store brands are usually on the bottom shelf, where you're only likely to notice them if you're really looking for a deal. This is called SEGMENTED MARKETING. The name brand is targeted to the people who have the high-stress, well-paying jobs and don't have the time or energy to try to find the best deals. But the best deals are still available for those who need them.

I'm yet to see cable companies and "content providers" doing anything equivalent. But they really ought to. The vast majority of people who spend time and energy on piracy are students and low-income people who couldn't buy the content legitimately. People who have active, stressful lives and who make enough money will frequently fork over the money for legitimate copies of the content they're interested in just because it's less of a hassle to do so.

What cable companies and content providers ought to be doing is trying to come up with that deal saving "store brand" version of their content. The content that could still appeal even to the starving college students and minimum wage slaves that they'd consider shelling out a few bucks on it here and there.

Fios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008176)

Not that I'm in love with Verizon, but since I switched, I stopped taking antacids while waiting on hold to be told I have to wait 24 hrs before I can :
A. Maybe have a restoration of my service, or
B. Not be able to back-charge them for my lost service (which I was paying through the nose for) until that period has expired.

My head may be all wrong, but my stomach is much happier now.
F#@K Comcast. The only good they ever did me was give my City a nice addition to the skyline with all their profits. Which, by the way they don't have to pay any taxes for the next 10yrs for.

Ugh! (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008190)

"Comcast's COO, Steve Burke, recently urged the TV industry to find ways to "get consumers to change" rather than figure out better methods to cater to demand." This is the mentality of every boss I've ever had.

Two Way Street - But that bus has long left (1)

gpronger (1142181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008192)

A long time ago, individuals worked for a company and the norm, not the exception, was that was where you retired. The difference was that this relationship was a two way street, strong pension, etc. Mergers followed by getting shown the door were the exception. The same was true (then) for contractual arrangements. Doubling rates or cutting what was delivered was the exception.

When was the last time you received a letter that you're credit card rate was going up, simply because they could?

Or for the same level of service from your cable/internet/phone provider "Due to Conditions Beyond Our Control" was going up in price.

The point is, that if a business or industry wants the customers to have a vested interest, it needs to be reciprocal.

as a comcast customer... (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008202)

... I say maybe I'll start to worry about what is fair to you a little bit when you start to worry about the level of service given to ME.

The corporations of the U.S. are not monarchy (yet) so it's not our job to make sure you live high on the hog. Maybe if you treated me like a customer I would feel some loyalty.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008226)

Perhaps what Mr. COO Steve Burke and $other_nasty_big-company_bigshots are afraid of is really that an entire generation of Americans is comping up realizing that, as Stallman puts it, "Information wants to be free," and we are now _expecting_ to not be screwed for every bit/byte of information there is.

[insert backgroup music: "do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men; singing the songs of angry people who will not be slaves again ..."]

Listen up Comcast (and others): The world is a-changing, even America; we're moving forward and leaving you dinosaurs and your archaic entrapment of our information behind!

Respecting copyright and subscription revenue (2, Interesting)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008242)

Well forgive me if I got this all wrong here, but... does he not simply mean that customers should pay for what they get, instead of just illegally and freely leaching it off the Internet ?

Somebody call a whaambulance. (2, Interesting)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008262)

Yeah, it sucks that your days of monopoly profits are near an end. NOT.

The only reason cable companies could historically charge the ridiculous fees for TV service is because the only real alternative has been an expensive satellite dish. But with digitization the cost of delivering content is going way down.

Cable companies have to charge competitive rates for internet access because of DSL.

With Netflix streaming I can stream thousands of movies and TV shows - with zero advertising - to my PC, XBOX, or PS3 - all for about $15 - $20/month, plus about $40 for the internet connection that I already pay for. Then there is Hulu, Youtube, etc. etc. And DSL works almost as good cable internet for all of these applications.

Meanwhile, cable companies want to charge $150/month for basically the *exact* *same* *service*. They don't create the content, they just provide the tube. AFAIK, 0% of the money we pay to the cable company goes to the creators of the shows we watch. It all just goes to the cable company to pay for the tube. Their only real cost is maintenance on existing coax. They charge me to rent the cable box equipment. And the content all has advertising to pay the actual creators.

Basically, cable companies are used to getting $150+/month monopoly profits out of consumers who have very few other options. Soon they are only going to get the $40-$50/month competitive rate for the internet connection.

I guess competition sucks if you're a monopolist.
    Boo hoo.

exec wants to patch capitalism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30008282)

by "changing consumer behavior" he must mean overriding essential features of human economic behavior, up-ending everything we've believed for centuries about market theory:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_economicus#Model

good luck with that.

Cut the cord! (2, Insightful)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008302)

Cable TV free and proud, two years running.

Improve your life. Cancel your subscription.

Those are two separate things, not one (2, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008310)

... if we don't figure out how to change that behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors ...

"Respecting copyright" is not really the same thing as "respecting subscription revenue". There are a significant number of people that do respect copyright, even if the typical Slashdot discussion doesn't seem to support that statement. But even if every music and movie "pirate" stopped downloading illegal copies as of today, it wouldn't fix the broken revenue model the music and movie industries still want to cling to - the technology available today has irreparably destroyed their old-school business plan.

You want respect? Show me some first. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008320)

No respect? How about you show the average consumer some respect and offer a fucking A la carte channel lineup instead of these bullshit package deals chock full of 700 channels we never wanted in the first place yet are forced to pay for to get the 3 channels we really want?

And I'm sorry, I have little respect nor pity talking to an executive who is standing behind a multi-million dollar salary. You wanna talk about respect? "Worthless Greedy Cocksucker" doesn't give your description enough respect.

Keep bitchin'. Go ahead. I'll cut the damn cable off altogether and fix your revenue "problem" and just get all my content via streaming Internet instead, while I sit on a free hotspot enjoying a coffee.

Copyright is less than 100 years old (0)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008328)

People told stories, wrote books, created music and designed things for thousands of years before copyright's and patents were invented. If you look at the time scale then it is only copyright protection that is new.

I say we go turn the clocks back and remove copyright protection and patents. The lack of copyrights did not stop the creation of Mickey Mouse. Also I would like to be able to sing Happy Birthday in public without having to pay performance fees to someone.

Correction copyright originates from the British Statuate of Ann 1710. So 300 years for copyright, except it was repealed in 1842. So when do we start counting?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Anne

Profitability by Fiat (1)

veranikon (202025) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008334)

As in, "You customers will buy our products because we say so, and just because. Don't bother asking why; it's too complicated for you to understand."

You do have to admire the simplicity of their business model.

"products that consumers will willingly pay for" (1, Flamebait)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30008350)

What product would that be? The World of Goo payment experiment [slashdot.org] effectively demonstrated that when consumers can choose how much they want to pay for a valuable product they, for the most part, to pay far less than it's worth. I don't think piracy comes down to a quality issue with the product.

Don't like copyrights? Fine, write to your government representative. Don't like the product? Don't watch it. Piracy is not a statement; it's transparently self-serving and to claim otherwise is to delude yourself.

Big Content has to change it's business model, not because it's ethically wrong, but because people simply aren't going to stop violating copyrights because they're cheap.

Now I'm not saying that think that copyright is perfect. It isn't and it needs a serious reform but that isn't an excuse to violate it for your own interests.

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