Comment : So I inadvertently took a short break to get some spinal taps (steroid in herniated discs -- no big deal, skiing again this week); attend a friend’s crowded, raucous and downright fabulous 60th birthday party, and experience writer’s block. (Chapter 5 of my book-in-progress The Revolutionary Evolution of the Media will show up next week.)

That’s all behind me now and there are so many things to cover … so here goes:

TV viewers have certainly demonstrated what’s most important to the American public. The State of Union speech from the President drew not quite 32 million viewers. College football’s playoffs and championship drew, respectively, 28m each for the playoffs and 33m+ for the Monday night championship. But America loves the NFL most … New England v. Indianapolis drew 42m+ while Green Bay v. Seattle drew almost 50m. Give or take a few.

Meanwhile, the Patriots find themselves in a regular un-patriotic place, accused of cheating. Although the web lit up like the opening explosions at NFL games, it doesn’t mean a damn thing whether or not they did deflate during the rain. Just wondering, are there different rules when the weather is really cold? This might not go away. Too much history with the UnPatriots. And Troy Aikman is right … if they did it, they should be punished … but play the Super Bowl so we can forget about politics for another day. Then again, do ethics matter?

So AT&T is thinking of re-branding DirecTV if and when it can … an interesting affirmation that the industry silos are soon going to be extinct. Why have “cable” or “television” or “wireless” or “broadband” or “satellite” or “OTT” when you could just deliver it all with your own, unique brand? Which means it really is time to find one moniker for the new, more robust communications and media industry. Sure hope they don’t tag it “U-verse-lite” or “InDirecTV” or “AT&Satellite.”

At the same time, Comcast’s David Cohen was spotted at a magic store looking for a larger magic wand.

Google’s Eric Schmidt told the folks at Davos the “Internet” will disappear … not really, he just said it’ll recede into the background and just “be.” Gosh, really?

While the devil is always in the details, the new Republican majorities overseeing communications have a good point as they introduced draft bills to achieve – so they said – guaranteeing net neutrality without full Title II classification and asked the Federal Confusion Commission to release proposed rule changes before voting them into effect. As usual in Washington, though, transparency is for the other guy. In an unusual bout of more wrestling, I side with idea that new legislation is a better way to help the Internet stay as open as practicable. Nice to see Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) will speak at ACA’s Summit in DC this March. Here’s a chance for Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) to find a way to work with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) to accomplish the right net neutrality goals with added regulatory burdens. Fingers crossed; eyes crossed, too because of what a long shot that would be!

Ranging a little more widely here and in the next comments, I’m certain that income and net worth inequality needs to be addressed … the reason? Historically, the wider wealth is spread the better the economy and the population. When inequality gets too engrained, the usual result is, after a while, strains in the body politic that can break down do so. Just look around the world today. If you can’t work to get ahead, just get a gun and take it.

There’s a chance Congress might act on cyber-security matters making email as sacrosanct as snail mail. Would be a good thing.

The guys who bought my company, SNL Kagan, say sports rights costs grew by 5.6% annually between 2000 and 2014 … and they predict average growth of 7.3% through 2028. Or, just another reason OTT will grow driven by the slow motion destruction of the cable model.

Back to what works v. idealogy … any chance someone might explain the differences to our legislators … and maybe even voters?

In an almost 50-year career writing and reporting on media, Paul S. Maxwell started and/or ran some 45-plus publications ranging from CATV Newsweekly to Colorado Magazine to CableVision to Multichannel News to CableFAX and The BRIDGE Suite of daily newsletters and research publications. In between publishing stints, Maxwell served as an advisor and/or consultant to a number of major media companies and media start-ups including running a unit of MCI and managing a partnership of TCI and McGraw-Hill.

Send any and all criticisms, suggestions, rants, threats, corrections, etc. to him at cablemax@mac.com. He has a new Web site coming soon!

 

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