Former Chairman & CEO, Warner Cable Communications
2003 Cable Hall of Fame
A Harvard-trained international lawyer, Gustave Hauser is truly a pioneer of the modern cable television industry, and his career has included highest-level participation in telephony, cable television and satellite communications.
Hauser served from 1973-1983 as chairman and CEO of Warner Cable Communications (which in 1980, became Warner-Amex Cable Communications, a joint venture of Warner Communications and The American Express Company). During this period, he built Warner into one of the largest cable companies and served frequently as a prominent industry spokesperson on legislative and regulatory affairs.
Under his guidance, Warner developed many new cable service innovations which demonstrated cable’s potential to become a major communications business and which foresaw many of the important programming and technological services which have marked the progress of today’s cable industry. These innovations were undertaken by way of an experimental cable system in Columbus, Ohio called “QUBE”. It included offering, for the first time, a package of 25 totally new, special-interest or themed programming channels, such as movies, sports, documentaries, culture and childrens’. Having been responsible for the concept and development of these “niche” channels, Hauser is recognized as the “father” of the highly successful national childrens’ network Nickelodeon, out of which evolved the national network MTV Music Television.
Hauser’s QUBE innovations also included the earliest computer-based “two-way” or “interactive” cable services, including subscription, “pay-per-view” (video on demand) and subscriber participation in TV through polling, shopping, and games. (CTAM recognized Hauser as the “father” of pay-per-view.)
Under his guidance, Warner was awarded a major share of new franchises in major cities and/or their suburbs, including such areas as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Dallas, New York, Houston, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Chicago. As an example, during 1980, Warner was awarded 1.1 million of a total of 1.6 million newly franchised homes.
After leaving Warner-Amex in 1983, Hauser founded his own company, Hauser Communications, Inc., which built and operated some of the earliest and largest cable system clusters, becoming the dominant operator of cable systems around Minneapolis/St. Paul and Washington, DC. Hauser Communications’ systems were ultimately sold for then record prices. In 1993, he sold to Southwestern Bell Corporation (now SBC Communications) large cable systems serving Montgomery Country, Maryland, and Arlington County, Virginia. This transaction marked the entry of Bell Telephone companies into the cable television and video distribution business, and according to a major industry analyst, “shook both industries”.
Hauser is widely recognized for the large number of current cable, television and communication industry leaders who began their careers and developed their talents as members of his business organizations.