American Cable Association’s Polka tells C-SPAN cable TV business is failing

By Dade Hayes

During a wide-ranging, even soul-searching conversation on C-SPAN, American Cable Association president Matt Polka said the business of providing TV service “isn’t what it used to be … and as a business it is failing.”

Polka was interviewed for C-SPAN’s “Communicators” series in an episode that will air June 3, with reairings June 5 on CSPAN2. John Eggerton of Multichannel News had the first report on the interview.

“The cable business isn’t what it used to be because of the high costs—the increasing costs of not only cable programming and sports programming and broadcast programming through retransmission consent—and as a business it is failing,” Polka said. “It is very, very difficult in some cases for an operator to break even on the cable side,” which is why broadband was so important.

Mediacom senior VP of government and public relations Tom Larsen, another interviewee, agreed, calling cable TV his company’s “worst product” in terms of profitability. He expressed hope and guarded optimism that the economics could shift with less aggressive pricing from…

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