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Posts Tagged ‘Time Warner Cable’

Comcast ‘Provides’ What May Be The Worst Service Call Ever

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There is no secret, no hidden truth, no mystery on this planet that refutes the abysmal customer service that call centers at cable companies provide. It’s like they all hire from the same discount store that shuttles HR rejects from the hotel.

The proposed Comcast and Time Warner merger? That’s a utopia of pleasantry just waiting for America (and one of those brands may vanish this year).  You would think the powers-that-don’t at Comcast would appreciate public perception.

Not when gems like this call to cancel service, which should serve as a crisis communications starter kit. (Oh, please take time to listen to these 10 minutes of bliss.)

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Comcast Really Wants You to Approve of Its Time Warner Merger

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Not only does Comcast care—it also knows what you think.

The company is well aware of the fact that it has maintained one of corporate America’s worst reputations for several years by scoring near the bottom in pretty much every category from product quality to customer service (which might improve if you’d just stop calling so often).

When the media megalith announced its $45 billion plans to merge with Time Warner Cable, most tech folks turned to the world’s greatest comfort food: comedy.

Of course, the merger is a very serious matter—and this week’s New York Times story shows us how a hated company tries to spin a hated business move.

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Diddy Wants to Save the Music Video (Good Luck With That)

One type of content we haven’t seen recently on broadcast television: the music video. Sean “Don’t Call Me Puffy” Combs wants to change that, and Time Warner Cable thinks he might be able to do it. This week he’s pushing his new Revolt TV venture as “the ESPN of music”, offering both your standard videos and some “behind the music” “news and information programming” (aka Snoop trying and failing to form a coherent thought).

So…a dated performer promoting a dated concept? It’s win-win!

It’s tough to make a video stand out without a little gratuitous nudity or a movie tie-in; the days of renting a suburban California mansion and turning a 48-hour party into a three-minute video are long gone. In other words, Diddy had better bring out the big guns: more famous friends, more flaming pianos.

On a side note, he can do comedy:

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How Netflix Changed the World One User Experience at a Time

The public loves Netflix. We just do. But it wasn’t always that way.

Remember in 2011 when Netflix raised prices and then announced it had splintered its streaming video services and DVD mail service into a company called Quickster? Well, the public went crazy, and ran from the brand like the last humans in a zombie movie.

Netflix, however, listened and made swift and dramatic decisions to keep all of the services under the recognizable Netflix name. Then the company launched sincere and formidable efforts to regain customers that had fled and to entice new ones to join. It worked. Today, Netflix isn’t only enjoying continued success, but has become the Robin Hood of television viewers, allowing budget-minded consumers to thwart the rich, powerful and predatory monopolies such as Time Warner Cable that treated their customers like piñatas full of cash.

Netflix understands that the public no longer consumes television the way it did only years ago. Television providers and networks made fortunes by treating all of their customers as if they were the same, and gave them little option other than buying the same bundle of visual junk that contained channels no one with a brain would want to watch. But we did. We had to. Time Warner Cable took its customers for granted, and that is something the public doesn’t forget.

Then streaming came along, and Netflix right there with it, offering consumers the type of freedom Braveheart talked about. Instead of telling us to take a day off of work and wait for a representative to arrive between 12 and 5pm, Netflix wanted to know if we’d seen this quirky new indie film much like the last one we enjoyed. It was almost as if Netflix knew what we wanted and didn’t want, because it did. And that’s what Netflix learned from Quickster.

The world isn’t taken over en masse. It’s won one user experience at a time.

SPOILER: Everyone Loses in ‘Time Warner Cable and CBS vs. the World’

What’s more important: quality content or the distribution of that content? PR pros know the answer: distribution strategies don’t really matter if no one wants to see what you’re pushing.

We don’t have cable, so haven’t been directly affected by the ongoing snafu between Time Warner Cable and CBS. But we do hear that we should watch Under the Dome, and we can’t do it online right now because TWC is the only Internet provider that serves our area, and they’re currently engaged in a bitch-slapping contest with “the most-watched cable network.”

Time Warner’s decision to kill CBS broadcast and streaming services in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, et cetera threatens to create a big PR fail for both brands—and it certainly hasn’t made us miss that monthly cable bill. So let’s check out their crisis comms efforts…

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The Latest News on Recently Launched DOGTV, Cable Channel for Canines

While Time Warner Cable and CBS continue their dogfight in a few major metro markets, a new cable channel, DOGTV, made its nationwide debut last weekend. The subscription-based network is designed for dogs, to keep them busy during the day when their owners are out. The 24/7 programming is available on DirecTV, via Roku boxes and online streaming. PRNewser learned the latest on the unique channel from Ron Levi, DOGTV’s founder.

Pet experts and animal trainers developed the content, aimed at entertaining, stimulating and relaxing dogs. They’re using real-world sounds, music, objects and animated movements, in three-to-five minute video segments. (about the same attention span as for human online video viewing). The goal is for canines who watch DOGTV to be less stressed, bored, depressed, and not as likely to experience separation anxiety. Plus, their owners will feel less guilty about leaving them behind. DOGTV employees can bring their dogs to work, though. As Levi noted, “They assist us with quality control.”

Levi commissioned extensive research to arrive at the right programming balance. Testing included monitoring dogs watching DOGTV at home. As a result, they eliminated barking sounds and shouting, which agitated canine viewers. Instead, they opted for stimuli to acclimate dogs to everyday life, such as car noises. Levi said “programs are all filmed according to dogs’ unique senses of vision and hearing. While all content is produced in-house, we’re open to ideas for future shows for dog parents.”

DOGTV’s popularity has exceeded expectations, Levi reported. While the channel doesn’t show ads, they have various partners. “For our pre-sale we partnered with Dog Is Good, Pet Best, Rover.com, and Pet Product Advisor to deliver a welcome kit to early subscribers”. He also noted the network’s involvement with animal charities. “Every time your dog enjoys DOGTV, pets in need are helped. DOGTV supports HSUS’ (Humane Society of the U.S.) Pets for Life program to extend the reach of animal services, resources and information to under-served areas.”

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Internet Does Not Approve of Time Warner Cable’s NY1 Rebranding

This is a very New York-specific story, but it contains a larger PR lesson that we’d like to share. NY1, pronounced “New York One”, is a 24/7 local news channel that is very helpful for those who want breaking news on traffic, subway delays, New York-area politics and more. It also includes some great talks shows, etc. But you get the point.

NY1 owner Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, is definitely one of the least popular brands among New Yorkers (just ask Twitter users and a certain Sir Patrick Stewart about its customer service record).

TWC–facing revenue declines as more customers cut their cords–is currently engaged in a battle with competitor Verizon Fios for market share. In order to convince customers not to switch providers, TWC is rebranding NY1, renaming it “TWC News” and changing the graphics, logos and theme music.

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Did Time Warner Turn Hurricane Sandy into Good PR?

Time Warner Cable New York City Hurricane Sandy is already old news to most Americans, but it’s still a big deal to thousands, if not millions, in the northeast. Some entities (like the MTA) managed to turn the storm into a PR win, and the much-hated Time Warner Cable now appears to be one of them.

It was a multi-step process: First Time Warner deployed mobile power stations around New York City in order to “allow people without power to charge up their phones, use our WiFi”, etc. Then its reps announced a plan to “automatically credit many” area customers who lost power during the storm, effectively paying them back for service they didn’t receive. Some customers whose accounts weren’t caught by Time Warner’s technical sweep may need to call the company in order to receive their credit, but the vast majority of accounts will be credited automatically.

This week brings more encouraging news: The cable giant and several other companies sponsored food trucks that continue to visit the storm’s hardest-hit areas, delivering free grub to those left without power and/or shelter. Selections include pizza, cheese steak and souvlaki–we approve of their taste in comfort food even more than their humanitarian efforts!

We’d love to hear more customer service stories. Has the company made good on its promises? Can a fickle public forgive Time Warner?

Captain Picard Hates Time Warner Cable Too

Set phasers to annoyed (we know, we know)! Classic British theater vet Sir Patrick Stewart–best known for his appearance on that one episode of “Frasier” where his character thinks Frasier is gay and Frasier goes along with it because he desperately wants to hang out with the director of the Seattle Opera–has something in common with every other member of the Western world: He doesn’t much care for Time Warner Cable’s customer service!

Stewart has been blowing up the Internet lately. His recent move to Brooklyn’s favorite baby-making factory, Park Slope, inspired a hilarious Tumblr page, and this week he used his Twitter feed to express his frustration in seeking help with his new Time Warner Cable account and hearing…crickets!

Stewart tweeted “All I wanted to do was set up a new account with @TWCable_NYC but 36hrs later I’ve lost the will to live” before engaging in a fruitless back-and-forth with Time Warner’s Twitter representative. We like this guy–and, given the fact that his message was favorited nearly 300 times and re-tweeted more than 600 times, we hope Time Warner got the message!

We did have a larger point, though: Read more

Time Warner Cable CEO Teaches Us a Lesson In Being Prepared

When being interviewed, it’s OK to admit that there are things you don’t know or need to follow up on. But when you’re the CEO of a company and you’re unaware of the big things happening in your industry, that’s a big ‘ol fail.

Case in point: Time Warner Cable’s CEO Glenn Britt says he has a dream to put the Internets in the TV. “Britt went on to lay out his vision for the future, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it basically reads like a product description for AirPlay, a service that wireless[ly] streams videos from your iPhone, iPod or iPad to your television via the Apple TV box,” Business Insider reports. And also, The New York Times reported it. Zoinks.

Britt also admitted, “I’m not sure I know what AirPlay is.”

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