Steve Burke, Comcast’s chief operating officer, says he’d have no problem disabling his customers’ ability to fast forward through shows to make them watch commercials. However, he said he’d only be willing to do that on very high-rated programming.
Burke made his remarks on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 25, at the Denver Convention Center during the opening general panel session of the annual CTAM conference.
He did not explain why he would only do that with high-rated shows. Fellow panelist Laura Desmond, the CEO of the Starcom MediaVest Group of media agencies, replied that she wasn’t sure that that would be a good idea. "Technology won’t be denied," she said.
Echoing recent remarks from various Hollywood moguls about the how their business models need to change, Burke also said that he’s very concerned about the affect of the Internet on cable’s traditional TV business model. "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," Burke said.
The panel was about the future of advertising and the panelists were only Burke and Desmond, with questions asked by Harvard professor Tom Eisenmann. He did not ask Burke any questions related to reports that Comcast is preparing to bid for NBC Universal.