Since then, The Carmel Group has repeatedly studied and followed the U.S. and international broadcast realms, completing numerous reports, studies and analyses for private and public clients and trade groups alike. Additionally, The Carmel Group has been asked to attend and present at various broadcast seminars and conferences, which in 1996, 1999, 2005 and 2011 included presentations at the NAB Futures event, held annually in late March in Pebble Beach, CA, numerous Super Sessions at the NAB 2005, 2007 and 2009 annual shows in Las Vegas, NV. Specifically, as an example, Jimmy Schaeffler moderated the NAB 2007 Super Session titled “IPTV,” in Las Vegas, before several hundred attendees and with participants from AT&T, OpenTV, Capital Broadcasting, SES Americom, and Qualcomm.
On a smaller scale, The Carmel Group has made numerous “Future of Broadcasting”-type presentations before small-to-medium-sized broadcast groups during annual meetings across the country and in Asia, Australia, and Europe. As an example, one of The Carmel Group’s most notable past presentations looked at the future of the telecom industry players, in a speech in Atlanta, GA during early 2004, wherein the broadcasters were labeled the “Wanderers,” the telcos were labeled the “Wannabees,” the cable operators were labeled the “Followers,” and the satellite operators were labeled the “Innovators.” It is exactly this kind of thought-provoking presentation that places The Carmel Group in such high regard and demand for industry consulting, conferences, and publishing projects.
The earliest roots of The Carmel Group are tied to its place as a 1995 spin-off of the Kagan organization, and a focus on the burgeoning Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) multichannel subsector. In fact, the “coming out party” for The Carmel Group was its inaugural conference, in early 1996, entitled “DBS: The 5 Burning Questions.” This event was held in early February 1996, in Woodland Hills, CA, just north of downtown L..A. Inaugural participants included U.S. Satellite Broadcasting’s Stanley E. and Stanley S. Hubbard, PrimeStar’s Jim Gray, AlphaStar’s Murray Klippenstein, EchoStar’s Charlie Ergen, and “The Father of U.S. DBS,” DirecTV’s Eddy Hartenstein. The keynote address that day was delivered by FCC Commissioner, Andrew Barrett. In 2007, as an example, The Carmel Group, in association with Hannover Fairs USA, conducted its 12th Annual “DBS: The 5 Burning Qs,” event.
More recent conferences center on the broader multichannel industry, especially “hybrid networks,” such as those involving distribution of cable, telco, satellite and broadcast entities and their related industry partners. Over-The-Top (OTT)/Broadband/Online Video has also become such a critical part of today’s broadcast and pay TV landscape that it, too, has become a most topical topic among many in the “innovation and change” category. Yet, whatever happens, DBS will always remain a main-stay of The Carmel Group.
Beyond events, The Carmel Group’s DBS expertise extends to a deep knowledge of the individuals and companies that make up the industry, both on a domestic U.S. and global scale, where The Carmel Group’s staff deal regularly with the industry’s top players, including many more former and existing presidents and chairmen of the best-of-class companies in the business.
In the area of studies and analyses, The Carmel Group has studied the DBS industry from every imaginable angle, and point of view, with projects looking at the old and new, and the competitive and growth oriented. Former and existing clients range from small start-ups looking for market assessments, to the largest players, looking at new business models and competitive understandings.
An old adage has it, “Know Your Friends Well, Your Enemies Better.”
Following that mantra, The Carmel Group’s early focus on satellite and cable was constantly buttressed via its understanding of competing industries, especially telephony. This dates back to the early 1990s and the attempted purchase of cable operator TCI by the then-telco, Bell Atlantic.
In fact, as a business, The Carmel Group’s first consulting job, way back in 1996, involved a study done for a major Asian telco operator, among the top three in the world, which was looking for an assessment of the competitive multichannel environment, and a SWOT analysis of various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. That same operator had The Carmel Group return twice for an additional review and assessment of similar coverage during a couple of subsequent years.
Today, as operators on the telco side of the business take their third major march into the video and advanced services spaces, The Carmel Group is poised to assist them to finally succeed in their quest to bring telco, audio/video, two-way broadband Internet services, and wireless mobile services and products to all Americans, thus significantly raising the future competitive bar for broadcasters, as well as cable, satellite, and other mobile operators. A publicly-issued report completed for AT&T, in fall 2005, entitled “Convergence In California’s Communications Marketplace: Its Impact on CA Jobs, Investment and the Economy,” is yet another example of The Carmel Group’s strength in the telephony side of the global telecom industry.
In all the years of traditional TV as the existing generations know it (i.e., traditional broadcast and pay TV today), perhaps no other change has the potential to so change it as that of Over-The-Top (OTT)/Broadband/Online Video distribution using Internet Protocol TV (IPTV).
Short and sweet, this is where The Carmel Group has placed a tremendous amount of its resources during the past three years.
The traditional, decades-tested broadcast model of serving a known universe of end-users and traditional “devices” – headends, downlinks, televisions and set-top boxes – has deconstructed dramatically in just a few short years as live, hi-def, and full-motion video appears on phones, tablets, laptops, and other video-ready platforms. Meanwhile, there are no consistent standards to shape this evolution, no real interoperability, and just about everyone – from end users to service providers – are pretty much out there on their own. How are broadcasters dealing with multiple platforms? How will what we are familiar with now change and move content delivery forward in the future? What are the technical issues? In the emerging and global smart phone wars, who will prevail and what impact will they have on content providers and, ultimately, bandwidth demand?
In 1998, several years before the September 2001 launch of XM, The Carmel Group was asked to moderate one of the first industry financial conferences looking at the new subsector called “satellite radio” (or less accurately called “DARS,” for “digital audio radio services”). This was in New York City at an early Bear Stearns event. In September 2001, when satellite radio’s actual deployment was in its infancy, The Carmel Group was hired by Sirius to assess the build-out of the industry in several key geographic areas. This 100-page report helped to define the later retail growth of the satellite radio industry in America and globally.
Since that time, The Carmel Group did numerous additional studies built around a better knowledge of the duopolistic U.S. satellite radio industry, and got to know the existing management at both XM and Sirius just that much better. This, in turn, has allowed The Carmel Group to stay at the forefront of knowledgeable analysts constantly following and studying this soon-to-be-ubiquitous national service.
Indeed, The Carmel Group was asked in 2007 by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), to conduct a study, and prepare and publish a public study on the then proposed merger of XM and Sirius. The NAB then used this study to present its position primarily before staff and other members of the U.S. House and Senate.
Satellite radio today is primarily defined as just one company, the merged XM Sirius Satellite Radio service HQd in New York, NY, and controlled by Dr. John Malone’s Liberty organization. The Carmel group continues its solid association with XM Sirius Radio, and looks forward to helping the global satellite radio industry grow and flourish.
Both on the hardware and the software sides, as an example of its cutting-edge positioning, The Carmel Group was the first analyst and consulting entity in the world to do extensive industry DVR forecasts, back in the 1997-98 timeframe. Plus, as another example of its expertise in the DVR arena, The Carmel Group conducted a late 2004 study for a eminent content and distribution client, focused on the relationship between the VOD and DVR sides of the pay TV industry. More recently, The Carmel Group delivered two consecutive studies, in 2006 and 2007, surveying the end-user ecosystem, and conducting extensive analyses of the advertising and related parts that are so critical to the future of DVRs. “DVRs 2007: Time In A Magic Box,” continued the many years of surveying the U.S. DVR industry, in a 102-page, 37-chart presentation.
In addition, The Carmel Group has had extensive contact with the DVR industry via a handful of DVR-related litigation consulting endeavors. As an example, The Carmel Group was a damages consultant in the 2004-2011 TiVo vs. EchoStar case, as well as a consulting and testifying expert witness in the 2011-2012 Goldwasser vs. TiVo damages arbitration.
Today, the global growth and influence of DVRs remains among the passionate interests of The Carmel Group, in large measure because of the technical improvement of DVRs, meaning they offer a richer and more relevant experience for many more scores of millions of end-users every year. This subtopic also weds nicely with The Carmel Group’s long-time study of the global set-top box (STB) business, as well as its interest in the future of storage and caching via remote and “cloud” facilities.
Finally, in 2009, The Carmel Group’s principal, Jimmy Schaeffler, wrote a 300+ page NAB/Focal Press book, entitled “Digital Video Recorders: DVRs Changing TV and Advertising Forever
There are “Advanced Services,” in addition to those focused on in this website, that bear following and review. Gaming would be the first such service that is offered in today’s pay TV and broadcast worlds, and that falls within the rubric of “Advanced Services.”
As these new Advanced Services develop and mature, primarily through studies and conference focus, The Carmel Group will develop and mature with them.
The category “Other Advanced Services” is also intended to address The Carmel Group’s tracking of and interest in, as well as its study of many dynamic new subtopics, such as social networks and communications, edge caching, hybrid networks for the distribution of video, and the place for the 2d screen, to name but a sampling.
The Carmel Group, located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, was founded in 1996 as a spin-off from Paul Kagan Associates. Consulting, especially telecom, media, and technology litigation support and competitive analysis, research, publishing, journalism, and conference support, are our key areas of activity.
The Carmel Group also prides itself on four decades’ worth of business development strategic advisory services, merger and acquisition advisory services, and investment advisory services for companies in the telecommunications, digital media, mobile communications, and high technology sectors. Early focus on the Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) industry was supplemented a few years later by a broader refocus on the larger pay TV and broadcast video industries, and recently eMobility, iMobility, and the Internet of Things, which now also leads us into an additional focus on the new online video/Over-The-Top (OTT) sides of video distribution.