NCTC’s Winter Conference Has Less Tech Than Ever [CableFax]

By Sara Winegardner

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“Last year, we made an intentional effort to shift the scope to include not only technology, but marketing and product as well,” NCTC pres/CEO Rich Fickle said in an interview with Cablefax. “As the industry’s become more competitive, especially in video, and the bar is raising in terms of what consumers expect, there’s a greater need to look at where technology intersects with product and how you have to change your approach to marketing. It’s definitely more than technology and we’ll continue that trend to eventually have half-technology, half other disciplines.”

This broadening of focus is encompassed in this year’s theme, “Break The Rules.” A quick look at the agenda shows innovators and disruptors far from the usual traditional spaces. An opening keynote will be delivered by Jonathan Taplin, whose book “Move Fast and Break Things” examines internet monopolization by Google and others. “He has been in various parts of the media ecosystem for many years and has a definite point of view on where things are going given the size of Google and Facebook, and everybody using video to capture user attention and data,” Fickle explained. “That tells you what we’re trying to do in terms of mindset.”

Another topic on the agenda is app-based pay TV, bringing panelists like MobiTV that don’t have a storied history within cable to offer their unique perspectives. “Up until a couple years ago, they weren’t even in the pay-TV business,” Fickle said, noting the company’s history with mobile phones.

“If you look at where the video world is, consumers more and more are moving towards usage of devices like Roku or Android TV-based set-tops or Apple TV. Mobi brings with them the experience of how do you deal with rapid change with devices that have growing capabilities and be able to be nimble.”

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