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Laying out the Cable Theme: Help Wanted



In a just (after) world, there would be a sort of Valhalla for those who have invested in the Interactive Television space. Just as in the heavenly banquette hall for fallen Norse warriors, the spectral remnants of over I-TV investors could gather and regale one-another with the stories of their glorious and noble deaths.

The theme for every toast would be the horrible hand of cruel fate sending longs to zero, generally despite Super Cool technology and / or a super useful product to sell MSO's (. As in "I was carried out on a shield baring replayTV's crest... my descendents cling to life on the remaining scraps of my TiVO (TIVO) long. It really would have made sense that DirecTV (DTV) would use the 4-year lead on dual-tuner DVRs the TiVO deal gave them to promote the heck out of the product. The love that should have flowed from MSOs to the guys making the DVRs people wanted, not SFA and MOT. Hail Odin! [drink]"

Are they dead enough to believe in yet?

I've written ad nauseum about the TiVO / Comcast (CMCSK) deal; a story on which I remain both "right" and just about even on my P&L, very much the hard way (trading). Whatever my thoughts on TiVo in particular, I don't think it's a reach to suggest that the deal portends something larger at work.

The MSOs are running out of next big things to pitch to investors. VOD is built-out and getting somewhat "blah" responses. Generic DVRs look okay but the exact deployment plan remains muddled.

They need the middlewear guys to help generate buzz, get customers and solve the growing ad issue (see links in your Gazette archives under me and / or Todd-O). I like TiVO but, I gotta tell you, if that company is able to get a deal it means the MSOs have finally reached into their wallets to go shopping for out-of-house tech.

I'm still in the exploration process and have mentioned getting long OpenTV (OPTV) [see the NY Times Sunday story]. I'm still working the theme but I want to pick up the pace. The cable show coming to SF in early April is going to have stock-moving deal news that I want to get in front of, if only to watch the process in real time.

I'm calling out to the Minyan network for ideas. Who's the next ITV company to get an expanded MSO contract? Which company will be the next to get off of the hand-to-mouth existence provided them by the MSOs endless "test-markets"?

I'm not looking for longs or, for that matter shorts. Just ideas as we explore a sector that might, finally, bring glory to investors in life and not only after (financial) death.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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