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Time Warner Cable digs in on segmentation strategy

Wed, 07/21/2010 - 8:35am
Mike Robuck

Time Warner Cable has been working on a segmentation strategy, and those efforts are bearing fruit with its new "Signature Home" bundle.

With segmentation, Time Warner Cable is pulling together services and products into new bundles. A spokesman for Time Warner Cable said the nation's second-largest cable operator is currently beta testing several possible bundles, but no additional information was available.

Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Landel Hobbs has referred to the company's segmentation efforts during earnings report conference calls.

"On the marketing front, I have been talking increasingly about our residential segmentation efforts," he said in April's first-quarter earnings call, according to a transcript by Morningstar.com. "Our work years developed quickly and have grown substantially in sophistication. Our early efforts were focused on identifying different needs among our existing prospective customers, which guided us in building tiers of service for both our Road Runner high-speed data product and our digital phone product."

The Signature Home residential bundle is currently available in Time Warner Cable's Charlotte footprint for $179 per month.

While there seems to be other segmentation bundles in existence, the Signature Home triple-play bundle is geared toward affluent subscribers who want all of the bells and whistles.

On the customer service front, Signature Home is truly a best-of-breed effort that combines a 24/7 customer service team, which Time Warner Cable calls Personal Service Advisors, that answer questions live over the phone or via chat, and specially trained technicians who show up in a two-hour window based on a subscriber's reservation.

On the technology side, subscribers get Time Warner Cable's DOCSIS 3.0-based 50 Mbps down/5 Mbps up tier, Look Back, Start Over and a whole-home DVR system that allows subscribers to watch a show in one room and then pick it up where it left off in another room.

The Signature Home DVRs can record up to four HD programs simultaneously and store 150 hours of HD content, and they allow subscribers to program their DVRs away from home via computers or smartphones. 

On the wireless side of the bundle, Time Warner Cable will hook up to 13 devices, including TVs, DVRs, computers, printers, stereo, gaming and mobile phones, to the wireless network that it installs.

The bundle also comes with Caller ID on TV and Caller ID on PC. Time Warner Cable's "VoiceZone" lets subscribers manage their digital home phones from any computer, while another feature sends voicemail to e-mail if a subscriber is away from home.

Market segmentation has been around for quite some time. The basic concept is to market products or services to people or organizations that share the same core interests or needs, which divides them up into segments. Time Warner Cable has done detailed market research, and from that research it will market bundles of services that are targeted to customers in each segment.

"This work [is our bolder] approach to pricing, as well as the ways we manage customers rolling off promotions and price lock guarantee agreements," Hobbs said in the earnings call. "I am really pleased with our results here, as reflected in our ability to generate healthy, powerful growth. In coming quarters, you'll see the next stage in the evolution of our segmentation work.

"Increasingly, we will tailor the multi-product bundles and the service experience itself, the needs of specific customer sets. Bottom line, the era of [one side splits all the table] is coming to an end. Stay tuned for more on this strategy."

More Broadband Direct 7/21/10:

•  Time Warner Cable digs in on segmentation strategy
•  Comcast tees up AnyRoom DVR in S. Fla.
•  Charter adds another state to D3 commercial services rollout
•  Sprint reclaims 2 GHz spectrum
•  Zito upgrades with Juniper routers
•  T-Mobile HSPA+ expands to 85M Americans
•  Apple's fiscal Q3 net income jumps 78%
•  Broadband Briefs for July 21, 2010
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