Thursday, February 03, 2005

Money, Money, Money, Money...Money!

We’re getting to be dinosaurs, those of us who lived “Disco.” It was the rhythm, the clothes, maybe even the strobe lights that hypnotized a whole generation into gyrating like fools. Great exercise, said I, when questioned by my hard core rock friends. But the truth is I loved it, every minute, every bass beat, every celebration of excess.

I had no clue that the “Saturday Night Fever” would go on for thirty years.

Then comes Brian Roberts, Disco King Extraordinaire!

“We are delighted to report terrific results for 2004 that include surpassing $20 billion in revenue for the first time in our history. Cable division revenue increased more than 10% to $19.3 billion, and cable Operating Cash Flow increased nearly 18% to $7.5 billion. We generated nearly $2 billion of Free Cash Flow, made strategic investments to drive product differentiation and growth, and returned $1.3 billion to shareholders through our stock buyback program. As we begin 2005, we are well positioned for sustained growth.”

Can’t you just see that silver ball churning above the dance floor while the consumer dances in a drug induced haze clapping their hands, stamping their feet and never knowing their pockets are being picked? Except I think they do know and they don’t like it, but since this is the only dance party in town what are they going to do?

It was great that Sue Buske of the Buske Group ( sent this little Comcast quote to city and county regulators across the country. And she included a link to the report the Big B. gave and the financial tables. It was a real eye opener.

The question is, what is anybody going to do about it? Rate regulation, like Disco, is a thing of the past, it’s frankly become a point of embarrassment.

“Sure, we used to be able to regulate rates. What of it? We were young. We didn’t know what we were doing. We had to grow up…our Uncle Sam showed us the way.”

Like our parents before us, we are committed to the music we heard in our youth. There’s something so right about hearing tunes that make us feel alive and tapping our feet to their beat. It’s not retro or old school, it’s just a reminder of when life was better, maybe a bit sweeter or more honest. Rate regulation, like Disco, was a good time that we cannot reject but must embrace.

Like the Bee Gee’s said “Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re just stayin alive.” That about sums it up for all those folks who made all those profits possible.

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