Profile: Spencer Kaitz

Dec 2, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: President and general counsel, California Cable & Telecommunications Association, and founding director, Walter Kaitz Foundation
Background: Mr. Kaitz is a longtime cable executive and a second-generation industry veteran. He has been in the cable television business since the 1960s. His father, Walter Kaitz, served two decades as general counsel and executive secretary for CCTA.
State of the industry: “The cable industry forgets that if you look at where revenue growth and margin growth is coming from, it’s all from products that didn’t exist 10 years ago,” he said. “Digital cable was just being talked about then. Cable is one of the industries that has been able to raise revenue quarter after quarter through the downturn, all through technology.”
The New Western Show: “What is critical about this year’s show [BroadbandPlus, The New Western Show, sponsored by CCTA] going forward is that the overarching fact of this environment is competition from EchoStar and DirecTV. What I expect from the show and shows to come is a focus on technology that differentiates us from [direct broadcast satellite]. I think you’re going to see [video-on-demand] become much more of a focus as we become better at it, as we market better. We see a product that differentiates and a technology and architecture that’ s differentiated.”
At the show, this VOD presence will manifest in attendance by VOD players as well as sessions on VOD, bandwidth management and the delivery of on-demand services. “The execution of the technology will really be a focus of the show,” he said.
Changing nature: The New Western Show has morphed from a programmer’s marketplace to a technology showcase over the past few years. “Our show is really driven more by demand, and in the programming industry there is the sense that people don’t need to see an exhibit on HBO,” he said. “They know what’s on. The exhibit side of the show has definitely moved to focus on technology because that’s where companies have things they want to show,” he said. Attendance will likely be down this year and should be slightly under last year’s 17,000 figure.
Interactive television: “ITV is something that has had great hype, great promise, but hasn’t happened,” Mr. Kaitz said. “I am confident ITV will be part of our experience. ITV should be one of the differentiators between us and satellite.”
IP telephony: “It will be a very important revenue stream down the road and a revenue stream that distinguishes us from satellite,” he said. “There will be a lot of IP equipment at the Western Show.”