‘Disruption’ in Boston: NCTA’s Powell Kicks off INTX 2016
The whirlwind of energy and vibrancy of INTX 2016 has begun, and NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell made it known that we are in the midst of experiencing those same waves of excitement in the ever-evolving video marketplace. “There are many currents of change shaping the contours of this dizzying period,” said Powell amid a crowd of thousands gathered in the great tech hub of Boston, many of whom were anxious to hear about the patterns that are driving that change–that “disruption” that embodies the theme of this year’s conference.
Walls have come down as many companies old and new are all competing vigorously, Powell explained. Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications and co-chair of INTX along with Ken Lowe, president and CEO of Scripps Network Interactive, said groundbreaking companies like Periscope and Mashable, who we will be on the main stage later in the conference, are changing the landscape. The video marketplace is in a transformative state as viewers can now watch TV on practically any screen available to them. Smarter technology and gigabit speeds are encouraging a blast of innovation across the landscape, and there’s more competition than ever before.
There are examples of experimentation everywhere you look.
Take virtual reality, which is on the rise. During her interview on stage with Recode journalist Kara Swisher, Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Ariana Huffington commented that increasingly, people will want to live in a VR universe. It’s the responsibility of content creators and providers to connect with audiences and to give them differentiated content that adds value to their lives, virtual reality being a means to enhance that value.
To demonstrate the power of how content and technology can provide an immersive consumer experience, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts previewed the company’s plans for the Summer Olympics in Rio via the X1 platform. Besides more live coverage on day one of the summer Olympics than there was during the entirety of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, the service will provide a host of interactive options that will personalize everyone’s Olympic experience and enable the huge volume of content to be viewed on nearly any device with a screen.
These developments are just a small example of the innovation that is pushing the marketplace and consumer experience into exciting new territory.
But despite the ferocity of competition and rapid pace of change, Powell warned that government is pursuing a relentless regulatory assault that threatens to halt the innovation that is so rampant. “The FCC’s governing mantra has been ‘competition, competition, competition.’ From where we sit, that incantation has come to mean one thing, ‘regulation, regulation, regulation,’” he said.
But Powell said that INTX itself shows that the market can meet consumer needs and be a powerful force for good. It’s all about growth, and INTX this year is about finding the opportunities that rise from the disruption we are currently witnessing throughout the marketplace.
Let us begin!