Industry Views

Pending Business: A Little Change Can Do You Good

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imLast week, with little time left on the clock, Disney and Charter Communications made a deal so that Charter customers could continue to watch Disney programming. Phew! Just in time for 15 million Charter cable customers to have access to that 53-year-old American institution called “Monday Night Football.”

It’s amazing how the two sides came together just in time to preserve the TV viewing habits of millions of football fans and all those millions of ad dollars sold into the broadcasts. Although both Disney and Charter lobbed streaming options at viewers to help ease the temporary pain, in the end, cooler heads prevailed, and a deal was struck.

Not so fast, somebody buried a headline.

Just before Labor Day, the Charter guys were claiming the current cable TV bundling model ain’t what it used to be, in effect acknowledging the nearly 5 million people a year who cut the cable. The cable bundle value proposition is changing before our blurry gameday eyes, and more options are becoming accessible every day. Does any of this “I can get this somewhere else” ring familiar?

Try this at home. Ask any Gen Z people you know how often they listen to the radio. (Gen Z are roughly between nine and 26 years old.) Now ask the Millennials you know (roughly 27 to 42 years old). The results will frighten you as you realize the greatest freebie electronic entertainment ever invented is losing the future faster than cord cutters on steroids.

If you have been in the terrestrial radio business for longer than five years, you are aware of the melting ice cube future of radio. Even our friends in the newspaper business are changing with the times, looking for writers who will report specifically on Taylor Swift and Beyonce. They tour the world generating crazy numbers in ticket and music sales. Their appearances and social media impact everything from fashion to politics. How is that for changing a future value proposition?

Sports fan or not, are you in touch with the Coach Prime phenomenon happening at the University of Colorado? The story was featured on the soon-to-be 56-year-old “60 Minutes.”

Deon Sanders is changing college football in Boulder as fans gobble up seats at over $500 a piece.

The point of this column is simple. From cable to pop culture to Coach Prime, leadership is innovating, finding new ways to re-invent and re-package a premise as old as song and sport, a premise much older than the terrestrial radio business. Maybe we can all learn from what we sell.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: