The opening general session of the Cable Show featured a panel discussion pondering the ‘Agenda for the New Media Era.’ The panel consisted of some cable industry heavy hitters: Patrick Esser (President of Cox Communications, Inc), Jerald Kent (Chairman & CEO of Suddenlink Communications), Craig McCaw (Chairman of Clearwire), and rounding out the group was our very own CEO and Chairman Brian Roberts.

Moderator William Kennard, of the The Carlyle Group, didn’t shy away from asking about the tough topics. The two that really stood out to me were the topics of online video (William basically asked if it was friend or foe of the cable industry) and how the cable companies are doing in this tough economy (since the Cable Show is in Washington, DC the economy is top of mind).

All the panelists agree that online video is more of a friend than a foe to the cable industry, but we’ll have to create new models to deliver on the promise of more content in more places. Brian Roberts made the point that our high speed Internet division is one of the fastest growing in the company because we offer the bandwidth that people need to enjoy all that great video on the Web (I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that you can watch many TV shows and movies on Fancast. And end of commercial). Jerry Kent of Suddenlink agreed with Brian and pointed out that cable has the best delivery method out there, and as more people turn to the Web they will turn to the Cable industry to provide broadband (and wideband).

Turning to the economy one of the panelists pointed out if you ask people what are the two most important services in your house the answer tends to

be: the Internet connection and cable TV. Both answers are music to our ears, as you might imagine, since that’s our bread and butter.

All in all, this panel was a great way to kick off the Cable Show. I’ll be posting more recaps from other sessions in the coming days, so stay tuned!