Posts Tagged ‘telecommunications’
Consumers ditching their cable providers for other options have become a real threat to cable companies. According to research firm SNL Kagen, Q3 2010 marked the second consecutive quarterly drop in U.S. TV cable subscribers. While there are many potential factors on a consumer’s decision to cut the cord, cable operators cannot avoid the obvious threat of advanced online video options. While some of these cord-cutters have turned to free over-the-air programming, many have moved entirely to online video options.
With advanced internet-based products being introduced, such as Google TV, Roku set-top and Apple TV, plus immediate online streaming of many television shows, consumers have many options when it comes to satisfying their TV fix. How can the cable providers keep their market share?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Comcast, the largest paid television operator, is testing a new service that will combine traditional television and the Internet. The service will combine Web video streaming, traditional cable and DVR capabilities in a set-top box. The test is being conducted in Augusta, GA and is known as “Spectrum” to participants. The service does not allow consumers to freely browse the internet and the company has not released information on what content will be available or the pricing structure.
Other top cable companies such as DIRECTV and Verizon, are embracing (a.k.a. forced to integrate) new technology by offering web-based capabilities through their boxes. But how do they measure up to online options in terms of pricing, capabilities and service?
Recently, I pondered cutting the cable cord myself. I have a like-hate (not love-hate) relationship with my cable provider. My box freezes frequently and channels are constantly unavailable. PLUS, it seems like the price of my service is always increasing! When I call customer service, it is difficult to get any real help. The standard line is “unplug your cable box for 30 seconds and plug it back in.” Generally, this solution is given before I even explain the problem!
Most TV shows I watch on a regular basis are available free on the web, so the only thing keeping me “plugged in” is my love for live sports. As Google TV and other internet-based options identify ways to broadcast live sports, or live events in general, I think more and more people are going to cut the cord.
Recently we saw the end of an era for ABC with the series finale of Lost. However, it seemed to be what Verizon hoped for with a marketing blitz focused on the company’s wireless network and a variety of smart phones.
The night started off with a pre-show and Verizon using Lost-themed commercials to air farewell messages from Verizon customers who wanted to say goodbye to the show and its characters. I thought this approach was a very creative way to strengthen loyalty with customers and to provide an outlet for the many Lost fans saddened by the show’s end.
When the series finale started, there was a shift in ad focus as spots were more likely to promote the network and specific smart phone products such as the HTC Droid.
At the end of the night, I think I saw as much of Verizon as I did Lost itself. I kind of wish I took the time to count the number of commercials that aired (maybe I should find someone who has it on DVR and watch it again?)
Did any of the Verizon ads convince you to switch providers or upgrade? Let me know your thoughts.
I recently bought a new cell phone. I previously had a phone that let me do my email and instant messaging, but wouldn’t allow me to do much else. I learned a lot of important things during the process of buying a new phone. Most importantly I learned that I only TALK on my phone for about 83 minutes every month. (My husband, who supposedly hates cell phones, uses our other 1,317 minutes each month.) But I’m getting off topic…
When I realized how little I talk on my phone, I realized that I needed a newer phone that would allow me to do more STUFF on it. What else I needed to do on it wasn’t exactly clear, but how else could I justify the $219 we pay each month for our cell phones? (Two phones, both with data and 1,400 minutes.)
After the agonizing process of trying to find the perfect phone, I now own an Android Incredible. I’m still learning how to use it. In fact, I’m learning really important stuff about it every day. So far it’s helped me navigate to strange places across town and find a restaurant in the mall. I also now always know the five-day forecast. Yesterday I bought my first app for the phone. It is going to organize my entire life and I know it will be life changing. I have a long list of other apps that I want to find.
I didn’t grow up with a cell phone. I didn’t grow up with a computer, let alone email or the Internet. I didn’t grow up with a scanner, a fax machine, a color printer, or an iPod. I grew up with Trim Line phones, typewriters and record players. But in this day and age I use my phone to run my life. I use it for my email, instant messaging, my entire calendar, my grocery list, my to do list, Facebook updates, GPS navigation, the weather forecast, to name a few.
And that brings me—albeit in a roundabout way—to my point. Mobile banking. Clearly mobile banking is going to happen – it needs to happen. It’s a question of when, not if. Right now mobile banking isn’t on my list of things to do on my phone. For me to do mobile banking, I need my bank to receive all my bills electronically. And I want to be able to use my bank to do all my budgeting. Those two things would make mobile banking work for me. But right now I don’t want to pay bills remotely because all my bills are at home in a folder. Is there an App for that?
Already part of a very competitive market, Palm has its work cut out for it over the next few months. It’s attempting to add energy into the company’s sales, focus and branding. After worse-than-expected results for Q3 (a 19% decrease in shares to a 52-week low of $4.59), analysts are questioning if Palm’s stock price will hit $0 soon.
The company argues that despite high volume shipments to retailers, the product isn’t moving off the shelf because of lack of proper marketing and staff training. Palm is stating that retailers do not know the benefits of many of its phones, making it difficult to move product and in turn, change the downward trajectory in stock value. If this is the case, it seems education should be the key goal of Palm marketing and training, right?
It could be, however, that the product hasn’t fared well in comparison to other smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry) because it isn’t seen as a comparable product. How many consumers enter a phone retail location without an idea of the type of product they want? Not many, I’d assume.
So, is the issue an under-trained sales staff or that Palm hasn’t convinced the public that its product is superior to the top players in the market? If the company can’t do that, I agree with analysts that the company’s stock is going to continue to fall all the way to $0. The solution has to be in marketing and strategy, so hopefully Palm is revamping its strategy.