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News - Time Warner Cable Launches Campaign to Win Back Ex-Subscribers



Time Warner Cable Launches Campaign to Win Back Ex-Subscribers

It’s no secret that cable companies of all sizes have been losing millions of subscribers to satellite and telecommunications competitors for years.  Time Warner Cable has come to the conclusion that they are ready to win some of them back.

Last week, the second-largest cable provider in the country (behind Comcast), began a marketing campaign aimed at former subscribers who might be having second thoughts about their service. The company plans on spending at least $50 million on broadcast, print, online and direct mail ads for the campaign, which it is calling “The Better Guarantee.”

The concept behind the campaign is to educate consumers that while the company’s cable service did not always live up to expectations in the past, it has improved substantially.

“We, as a company, are fundamentally different and better than we were a few years ago when these upstart competitors started coming in,” said Jeffrey A. Hirsch, the Chief Marketing Officer for residential services at Time Warner Cable.  By upstarts, he was referring to VerizonFiOS and AT&T U-Verse, two relatively new fiber optic television and Internet providers that have gained subscribers at the expense of cable providers.

Verizon, specifically, was the target of some ads, with Time Warner saying they have promised monthly savings that have not panned out.

“That promise of new isn’t such a great promise, and people are starting to come back to Time Warner Cable,” Mr. Hirsch said. “So we decided it’s time to put some muscle behind the idea.”

In a forecasted publication that came out last week, Time Warner Cable showed losing 140,000 subscribers, a slight increase from the 129,000 it lost in the same quarter of 2011.

The new Time Warner ads point to specific improvements the company has made, including Smartphone apps, on-demand TV options and narrower windows of time for home service calls.  The company states that the dreaded four-hour windows are gone, while two-hour windows are now the norm and one-hour windows are being put in place. Mr. Hirsch also mentioned that Internet service is much faster than two or three years ago.

To entice former subscribers to try Time Warner Cable again, the ads promote a 30-day money-back guarantee. “If the consumer doesn’t see that we’ve improved our service, we’ll send them their money back,” said Gregg Fujimoto, a Senior Vice President for the company. Some of the ads feature actual subscribers, explaining why they came back to the company. Mr. Fujimoto said there would be use of social networking Web sites as well as traditional advertising media.

This is one campaign that certainly could work for Time Warner, but only time will tell if the cable company will accomplish its mission, or if satellite and telecommunication companies will continue their dominance in the upcoming years.

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