Cablevision’s Jim Dolan Says Cable Channel Bundling Will End “Badly”: WSJ

The Cablevision CEO rarely grants interviews, which makes the one in this morning’s Wall Street Journal interesting. Jim Dolan continues to hint broadly, as he did in a call with analysts last week, that he’d be open to a sale. “We are going to continue to do the right things for shareholders,” he says. While he didn’t say specifically whether Cablevision was engaged in any deal talks, he noted that business is “in our blood” — and if his family didn’t have cable systems then “there would be another business.” And he seems troubled about prospects for cable’s video services. He says programmers and operators live in a “bubble” by requiring subscribers to buy channels as a bundle. As online video becomes more appealing to young viewers, the bundled channel model will mature “badly.” Indeed, he says “there could come a day” when Cablevision stops offering its own video service, allowing someone else to provide programming over the company’s broadband infrastructure. The leader of blues band JD & the Straight Shot, just off a tour opening for the Eagles, likened what’s happening in cable to the decline of the music business. Those who don’t “ride the wave” get “eaten by the wave,” he told the paper.

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