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Jeff Kagan: Charter CEO Meets with President Trump

This is a smart move by Charter CEO Rutledge...
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.

Via Sean Spicer & Dwight Burdette

A few days ago, I caught the White House Oval Office announcement with President Trump congratulating Charter (CHTR) CEO Tom Rutledge on moving jobs and opportunities back to the USA. This is good news and it’s good to see companies and CEO’s participating in the process of rebuilding America. Right now, these companies are center stage thanks to Trump.

This is not the first time we have seen CEO’s with President Trump. Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank met with Trump before his inauguration. He too is focused on bringing jobs, opportunities and investment back to the USA. And there have been countless others from Apple (AAPL) to IBM (IBM) in a growing list of companies and CEO’s focused on making America stronger once again.

Tom Rutledge of Charter, Masayoshi Son of Softbank and Many Others

Whether these CEO’s are Trump supporters or not, they all show up for a meeting at the White House. This is powerful publicity. This kind of patriotic showing means they all are perceived as winners and builders who are important to the rebuild of America. Of bringing jobs back. Of rewarding investors and workers. Of increasing pay and earnings.

Charter – or Spectrum, as they are trying to rebrand – is a company that has been through a very rough period, but now they seem to be on the growth side of the wave once again after acquiring Time Warner Cable. That’s the good news. The bad news is that as they are recovering, competition is intensifying and innovation is transforming the space.

IPTV and streaming TV is growing and eating away at traditional cable TV market share. The cable television world is not the same place it was a few short years ago.

Wireless TV, Mobile TV is Next Big Challenge and Opportunity

New competitors started taking market share from traditional cable TV years ago. It started with satellite TV a while back. Then a decade ago television over the internet started. Services like AT&T (T) Uverse, Verizon (VZ) FiOS, CenturyLink (CTL) Prism and others started to win market share.

Then we started to see other newcomers to the IPTV space enter the picture. Some are bigger name competitors like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN) Prime, and many others are smaller players like Hulu and more.

Today, we see further challengers to the traditional television market with new innovation like AT&T acquiring DirecTV and now introducing DirecTV Now and wireless TV or mobile TV. This is very successful and is forcing traditional players like Comcast (CMCSA) Xfinity and Charter Spectrum back to the drawing board.

Chain Only as Strong as Its Weakest Link

2016 was a big year of change with wireless TV, and I expect competitors to try and join the fray in 2017. This represents a complete rewriting of the rules of television. Cable TV never had competitors. Today they do. That means because they never took care of their customers, today they don’t have a solid relationship with them. That is a weak link in their chain. And you know the old saying, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s why Comcast, Charter and every other cable television operator is frantic to come up with a version of wireless TV or mobile TV.

The worlds of wireless, telephone, television and Internet are all converging. Yesterday, they were completely different sectors. Today, they are crashing together and both destroying yesterday as they build tomorrow. This is a volatile time full of opportunity and challenge for past leaders.

Who Will Lead Tomorrow?

So, what will tomorrow look like? Which companies will lead? That’s the big question. There will be a couple of big winners. The rest will all compete, but not amount to much. We have seen past leaders miss this kind of change before. Think Motorola (MSI), Blackberry (BBRY) and Nokia (NOK) giving way to Apple iPhone and Google (GOOG) Android. Change can occur very quickly. It happened before, and it will happen again. Count on it.

So, Charter meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office was a good PR move. Announcing they will be moving jobs back to the USA is also a good move. However, this is just one step. They need to transform and lead going forward as the world they build their business on over the last few decades is blown apart and reinvented in front of our eyes. I wish them success. In fact, I wish all competitors success as the marketplace transforms itself.

Jeff Kagan is an columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected]. His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan

Stories like Charlie Munger’s inspire me. It shows why you must live life as an optimist.