you were recently involved in a study of viewing patterns for
tv subscribers in rural america. how was that study structured?
Our video middleware software allows service providers to
access channel statistics that show what channels set-top
boxes are tuned to. We have been receiving monthly reports
from 53 providers in locations from Alaska to New York with
data from approximately 60,000 boxes. When aggregated, the
reports are enlightening for certain: they show patterns that
often run counter to conventional thinking and especially the
trends we see with urban subscribers.
retransmission rates and the revenue models imposed at
various levels in distribution seem to be at odds with local
providers that just want to provide a video product for their
community. is this sustainable in the long run?
Retransmission rates are unreasonable, but the reality is that
broadcast channels are the most popular channels in rural
America. Our first three months of channel stats data show the
broadcast networks in the top ten. The prognosis for retransmission relief is not good, and I don’t see that changing anytime
soon. The best thing a service provider can do is to analyze their
channel stats and drop the channels that they can—channels
that no one is watching. This may not always be possible if contracts require must-carry low-interest channels that are part of a
family of channels that consumers do watch regularly.
Some providers have considered getting out of the traditional
tv business entirely, making up the revenues by offering higher
tiers of service, and showing customers how to get tv using a
streaming device. what do you say about this line of thinking?
Our rural video and broadband survey shows that over the last
three years, 60% of rural consumers report that bundled ser-
recently sat down with Scott Meyer, director of marketing for Innovative Systems, as he wrapped up a
summer of presentations at NTCA Regional Conferences. Meyer is not only a 12-year veteran of Inno-
vative Systems, but also a former executive director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the late 1990s.
Tips to Rev up
From a Former
A Q&A With Scott Meyer
Dennis McGarry is
Contact him at
DA YS Insights From NTCA’s Training & Development Team
vices are very important to them. Getting out of video may
entice rural consumers to find bundled options elsewhere, so
there is a risk of losing the customer entirely or inviting compe-
tition in the video space.
this summer you spoke at the ntca regional conferences
about the future of video. where do you think we are headed
with tv, cable subscriptions and the consumption of video?
Demographically, rural America is different, and this affects
their video consumption patterns. In my conversations with
attendees at the 2018 NTCA Regional Conferences, which consisted mostly of board members, oftentimes they would say, “I
just want to use one remote control and watch my TV shows.”
They want simplicity. However, the majority of rural America is
unable to receive their local broadcast channels with an over the
air (OTA) antenna, despite the consistent survey data that proves
local channels are very important to them. This data suggests
that rural consumers, because of their age and limitations to
local OTA channels, are going to continue to want a traditional
pay TV service.
i can’t let you go without asking about your days in Sturgis
and the motorcycle rally. can you share one of your most
Those were some crazy days! It’s a tough question, but one of
the most interesting things relates to law enforcement: During
one of my years as director in 1999, there were 1,916 arrests,
which given the overall attendance pushing 400,000 is a remarkably low number. What is even more interesting was the total
number of uniformed law enforcement was about 100—a real
testament to how well behaved the cyclists are compared to
what some might think! l