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In the media: Time Warner Cable targets former subs in new ad campaign

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 3:30pm
Mike Robuck

Starting today, Time Warner Cable is taking aim at winning back former customers through a new marketing campaign.

According to a story by The New York Times, Time Warner Cable is targeting video customers that it has lost to the likes of Verizon and AT&T. The marketing campaign is called “The Better Guarantee” and is an extension of the cable operator’s “Enjoy Better” campaign that it kicked off early last year.

According to The Times story – a Time Warner Cable spokesperson said the press release wasn’t going out until tomorrow – Time Warner Cable has earmarked at least $50 million across broadcast, print, online and direct mail advertisements for The Better Guarantee campaign. Time Warner Cable will also include a social media element in the campaign. The ad’s premise will be that Time Warner Cable has improved its service since the former subscribers left.

Jeff Hirsch, the chief marketing officer for residential services at Time Warner Cable, told The Times that the nation’s second-largest cable operator was “fundamentally different and better than we were a few years ago when these upstart competitors started coming in.” The upstart competitors Hirsch referred to were AT&T and Verizon, according to The Times.

Specifically, some of the ads will contend that the monthly savings that Verizon has touted haven’t come to fruition.

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

The ads will include a 30-day money-back guarantee, which kicks in if consumers don’t see an improvement in Time Warner Cable’s service.

As of last year’s third quarter, AT&T's U-verse products were available in about 25 percent of Time Warner Cable's footprint, and Verizon's FiOS services were available in about 12 percent of the homes passed by Time Warner Cable.

Partially due to promotions by AT&T and Verizon, as well as the sluggish economy, Time Warner Cable lost 140,000 video subscribers in the third quarter of last year, which exceeded analysts’ projections.

Time Warner Cable President and COO Rob Marcus said during the earnings call that the Los Angeles, Carolinas and Northeast markets fared better on the video subscriber losses when compared to the New York City, Midwest and Texas markets. The Midwest markets included the former Insight Communications systems.

Time Warner Cable has launched the marketing campaign a week ahead of its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings report. Last week, industry analysts at Jefferies & Co. published a forecast that projected Time Warner Cable would lose 140,000 basic video subscribers.

Time Warner Cable has attempted to reduce its basic video customer churn through its TWC TV apps, which send video to various devices in subscribers’ homes, as well as the addition of NFL Network and Big 12 Network and the launch of its own sports network last year.

Aside from the marketing campaign, Time Warner Cable’s video subscriber fortunes could also receive a boost from its cross-promotional efforts with Verizon Wireless, which started last year. In the third quarter, Time Warner Cable was cross-promoting its services in 250 Verizon Wireless stores and roughly 650 third-party agent stores.

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