The broadcasters argued that the remote streaming circumvented them and allowed users to steal their content. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and in the end Aereo lost the decision that was made just over a week ago.
David & Goliath: The rise of Simple TV
CEO Mark Ely is convincing his customers to join a similar start-up run called Simple.TV. Aereo and Simple.TV both revolve around the idea of sharing content without a traditional television subscription. These services are meant to cater to cord cutters who are cancelling subscriptions and switching to companies such as Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Simple.TV sells hardware that allows subscribers to watch TV shows on their personal devices such as tablets, smart phones, laptops, or even their own home TVs.
|Television (Photo: Daniel Y. Go)|
Over the past two years, the start-up Aereo has been fighting cable broadcasters over its function as a remote TV streaming company. Aereo allows users access to near-live stream television without paying for a cable bill of their own.
With Aereo, a user would pay about $10 for an antenna in a warehouse that would stream television. With Simple.TV subscribers pay just under $200 for an antenna and a box for a similar service. The problem for the cable companies is that Aereo was remote and Simple.TV is actually in a subscribers house and he or she is privately capturing signals.
The Battle Continues
In home cable subscriptions have declined 7% since 2013 while the number of households that use internet to stream TV has risen about 30% since 2013. Cable companies have created incentives for customers not to cancel, such as Comcast’s plan to offer cloud streaming and special packages for students.
Innovation Reigns Supreme
According to the chief executive of CBS, Leslie Moonves, ‘We are not against people moving forward and offering our content online and all sorts of places, as long as it is appropriately licensed,’ he said. ‘Innovation is still alive and well and thriving.’
These smaller companies aim to earn a share of the broadcast $167 billion market. What will the future impact of such small companies have on the overall TV market? Will they eventually grab a larger market share? What will broadcasting companies compete in such a space? How will marketers and agencies measure and map out engagement for these fractured audiences?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.
According to Marketing Vox, many companies are relying on social media tools to accommodate the questions of the individuals using the tool for such questions as return policies. Companies such as Comcast, Dell, Southwest, and AT&T are fully using it as a customers service tool.
A website called ‘Comcast Must Die’ was one of the reasons Comcast took a more active role in reaching out to their unhappy customers. Frank Eliason, Director of Digital Care, National Customer Operations with Comcast, says this website was one of the reasons they started actively engaging in social media. They began by looking at blog site comments about their brand and let these customers know they were listening.
Eliason and his team of 11 are assigned the task of managing Comcast’s social media strategy. The company has set up both internal and external strategies to listen to customers. Eliason involved a variety of departments at Comcast to participate in listening and sharing customer stories, including Marketing, Public Relations, Customer Service and Human Resource departments. According to Eliason, this strategy has enabled Comcast to apply this information and change processes for the good in all areas of the company.
They didn’t start out that way. Eliason shares that Comcast had to learn to move away from being a product-focused company to one that is experienced-focused. It’s easy to track numbers and data to measure your effectiveness says Eliason. But you cannot change your organization by looking at only the numbers. Service people know that the customer experience and customer stories count.
With respects to blogs, Comcast takes the approach of reaching out to customers one-to-one if possible. They will first seek to call the customer and have a conversation. According to Eliason, the surprise factor is high, a two-way conversation is facilitated, and customers feel special. If they can’t reach them by phone, they try email or respond directly by posting comments on the blog site.
Eliason’s advice was similar to many other speakers today. That advice was to start listening to conversations. Search your brand name on Twitter. Don’t hold back, reach out and ask ‘can I help’? Know which forums your customers are hanging out on. Every customer is an influencer on your brand says Eliason. Listening and engaging are more important than ever in growing your brand.
From our post yesterday looking at a not-so surprising article in yesterday’s NY Times, Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teens, which looks at the popular growth of some of the latest social media in the last few months, specifically, Twitter; I thought I’d add my 2-cents. As we noted, they supply some interesting data from comScore including that just 11% of Twitter users are between the ages of 12 to 17. Overwhelmingly, Twitter users are an older segment of the population and as Forrester Research notes in the article, people aged 35 to 54 using social media grew 60 percent in the last year.
Shocking? Hardly. Over at Mashable they’ve highlighted this in their coverage of the NY Times piece here, and had written about this just a few weeks ago. In the NY Times piece they highlight a couple of obvious reasons why, first, that the nature of the technology, much more public than social networks like Facebook, is less enticing to teens who are more comfortable interacting and sharing with their friends rather than random strangers coming across their streams. This in turn, looking at it from a professional perspective, offers adults a means to find interesting and useful topics and discussions relevant to their interests.
But very simply as a segment of the population, the ‘Teens’ demographic overwhelmingly uses social media/networking compared to other age groups. In a sheer numbers comparison, there’s not many more users to attract to the technology while other age groups, all you have is room to grow. In fact, in the case of Twitter, that may be what will eventually happen for 12-17 subset of users. But for me, what is fascinating is how fast the comfort level is rising in the adoption and ongoing usage of social media by older users – not so much that they are leading the charge in using technology, but rather its overall importance as a tool among many tools they use. In the past, in the early days of the dot com boom and bust, web usage was still highly segmented. For social media today, its usage overall is beginning to top even the frequency users access their emails:
In fact in a follow-up piece on their technology blog, BITS, they look at this growing adoption and usage by older demographics, citing recent Forrester reports and data. Clearly, as a communication and interaction medium this growth in usage by older segments of the population raises some questions. For marketers, particular brand managers, the hope that the power of tv, radio and other traditional mediums to influence purchasing decisions will somehow remain strong is increasingly questionable. Why? Well, looking at advertising dollars and ROI through those mediums seems shaky at best. I’m sure any media buyer out there would say not so, but I am biased. And as we pointed out this week, clearly marketers see the numbers and the level of adoption by all age groups and customer segments, and its not a question of should we use social media, but when.But looking past marketing, the impact of social media on the business landscape raises even more questions. How does it impact customer service, if increasingly customers feel they are able to get better and faster responses via social media a la Twitter, case in point, Comcast and Southwest Airlines to name a few. How might it impact product development, market research, sales, etc, etc. Of course, I may be simply preaching to the choir.But then again, every time I work with direct marketers and product managers in certain industries, I continue to hear, well our audience just isn’t that tech savvy. When I hear that, my eyes glaze over and mind drifts away and I think, for your sake, I hope it’s true.
This post on USA Today discusses how many companies are taking advantage of real-time capabilities of Twitter to foster customer service. Comcast, PepsiCo, JetBlue Airways, and Whole Foods Market are some of the companies which have begun to take advantage of twitter and opening up direct communication with customers.
Elissa Fink, vice president of marketing at Tableau Software mentions, “The more ways you provide customers to contact you, you’re more likely to satisfy them.”
Consumers have become increasingly frustrated with wait times in call-centers, maybe it’s time we took another look at the traditional call-center and incorporate social media strategy in some of these older-styled companies.
There has been quite a bit of buzz about how Comcast is reaching out and providing service for those customers who tweet about their problems with Comcast’s services. However, and interesting article at The Industry Standard about how the program is still taking off, and some customer service reps aren’t even aware there is a division of representatives that are contacting customers via Twitter.
“I spoke to an…employee who berated me for not contacting them sooner. I explained that I had done so, most recently via Twitter and that’s when everything got bizarre,” John told The Industry Standard. “He said he had never heard of it…I pointed out that I’ve gone through the cycle of reporting it…but because I had used Twitter…he indicated that they didn’t really count!”
How would you take care of this problem in your company?
In July, we posted about the role of ‘digital care manager,’ a position Mr. Eliason from Comcast Cable filled in order to proactively search for complaints and problems in twitter. Since that time, several other companies have joined the bandwagon and are now doing the same. The brightkit blog has posted a huge list of all the companies that now use twitter to track what their customers are saying about them in real time. Here are companies that already have their own twitter pages Southwest Airlines, Dell Computers, Comcast, Starbucks, Jet Blue, Home Depot, Whole Foods, H&R Block, Zappos, Kodak, General Motors, Pandora. And the list goes on for companies that have also responded to problems and complaints on twitter.
Has your company joined the revolution?
We’ve posted a while ago about how Twitter has made ‘customer service proactive rather than reactive.’ This morning I came across this post from Search Engine Guide in which Paul Jahn reminds us that businesses, especially those who have e-commerce sites, should be using Twitter as a customer service tool.
Customer service reps can simply do a quick search on Twitter for their company to see what people are saying about them. The result, reps will find either good feedback or bad feedback. Representatives can go above and beyond by thanking happy customers and help unhappy customers using Twitter as a medium. Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Frank at Comcast, and many others are just a few examples of people who have used Twitter to improve customer service practices within their company.
In this previous post we had discussed a new position that had been created by Comcast called “digital care manager” whose responsibility was to manage customer service through new media methods. This latest news report, however, gives no indication that customer service is looking up for the cable industry. As the article states, cable customer satisfaction score is 60 out of 100 with 70% of respondents citing that they would have no qualms about jumping to a competitor. The article also reports that:
“the industry average was was weighed down by the scores of Comcast Corp. (58) and Charter Communications Inc. (51).”
In addition to the threat of changing to competitors Customers also cited, that they would
“dump cable, given the chance, because of poor customer service.”