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Volume 21 No. 6
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Plugged In: Mike Angus, Time Warner Cable

Media veteran Mike Angus is focused on helping the cable industry combat threats to its business — everything from cord-cutters dropping their cable subscriptions to the over-the-top programmers that are enticing those subscribers. A former digital executive with Fox, Angus joined Time Warner Cable in 2011 as senior vice president, content acquisition. Since then, he has helped Time Warner Cable cut deals with nontraditional media companies like Roku and Xbox. Now working as senior vice president and general manager, video, one of his responsibilities is to reimagine how the cable bundle should look for a modern-day distributor. Angus believes smaller packages of cable channels is the best way for the industry to move forward.

Programmers and distributors need to come together and be on the same page to do what we need to do to address our customer base. Cord-nevers and cord-shavers are telling us the same things: They want smaller bundles.

A trend in media: I’m watching the personal subscription service that Dish [Network] is talking about. I’m interested to see the kind of the openness that programmers have in building smaller bundles to address cord-shavers, cord-cutters and cord-nevers.

The importance of the Roku and Xbox deals: If we have a customer who is using one of those boxes and watching Netflix, I’d rather have Time Warner Cable available on that box so that when they don’t find anything that they want on Netflix, I’m right there and they don’t have to switch inputs and change out.

On the struggle with TV Everywhere: There still is fear of being a first mover. Programmers don’t want to be the guy who made a bold move and end up looking like a schmuck because somebody else later gets a bunch of dollars for it. You’re seeing that thinking start to go away.

Are sports costs sustainable?: If ad dollars aren’t going to do it, I don’t know how it works out. Part of the answer lies in smaller bundles. You don’t make everybody pay for it.

How will we watch TV in 10 years?: You’ll still have a bundled distributor offering; it’s cheaper to buy a bundle. It’s the size of the bundle and what’s in that bundle that is the big elephant in the room. There’s absolutely a role for the distributor as a pay-TV aggregator. It’s the most powerful way to monetize those ads. Nobody else other than a distributor is going to be able to aggregate all of that information on viewing.

— John Ourand