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« Phone company bails on tiered pricing plan | Main | Thoughts on TWC's collapse »

Apr 16, 2009

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James

Blow back on all fronts. "Couldn't happen to a crappier company," he said, sending his comment into the blogosphere using Time Warner's cable.

Roch101

Big thanks to the proactive consumer-conscious elected officials... in New York.

DW

Yes, Roch! Where were our representatives?

I actually ran into Sen. Hagan on a walking trail this week, which was fun, but I wish she had been raising cain with TWC instead.

The response from local leaders was pretty lukewarm as well.

Sue

As I said in 3 interviews, TW provides my company excellent service with (after initial kinks were worked out because I'm doggedly determined) steady speed and fabulous uptime (wish I could say the same for my HD TV service). With Business Class, I get a better-than-usual tech support staff who actually respects the fact that I know what I'm talking about and no, I'm not rebooting my computer for them.

What they failed at, similar to the New Coke debacle, was marketing and PR. They underestimated their customer's passion and interest. They picked the wrong time (there's never a right time for "new" coke). I'm sure they're stunned at what ensued.

But Chuck Schumer, a Progressive Democrat from NY, was all over this. I think he read it right and the other legislators didn't (or were afraid of the corporate giant). Dunno. I support Brad Miller a LOT but couldn't get him interested in this issue. Same with Pricey; didn't hear from her. I was disappointed with our elected officials all over this state from every level. Our City Council let me down; I haven't seen Mayor Johnson say anything about step #2 in bringing in competitors.

Fundamentally, they (TW, elected folks and almost everyone except the news) underestimated us. I may not agree with those Tea Bag Parties, but darn, I celebrate their right to protest. And mine.

Roch101

I find the perception that TWC's problem was one of marketing and PR to be shallow. They put forth a premise for their plans that seemed highly dubious, it wasn't substantiated and was contradicted by other information. I have asked you at your blog, Sue, with no answer, on what basis you accepted TWC's claim that they were running into a capacity problem with internet use. TWC's problem was one of veracity, not of PR.

Anthony

Sue, the "New Coke" analogy is a bad one - there's way more than marketing and PR at issue here. Let's improve upon the analogy:

It's 1985. New Coke is introduced at 50 cents per can. But you're only allowed to buy one can at a time at that price. If you need more than one can, you can buy a 6-pack, but the price of a 6-pack is $8. Or you can buy a whole 24-can case of New Coke for $30. If you need more than a case, each additional can will cost you $2.

If people objected to that, would it be a marketing and PR problem?

Sue

Sorry about that, Roch. I missed it and replied tonight. I've already addressed how bad I thought their plan was but I believe tiered pricing is the future and we need to frame and influence the process. The reasons aren't technological, they're capitalistic ('what the market will bear').

I didn't mean to imply that I thought everything wrong with the TW plan was marketing and PR. I think it was a huge component. That, and shooting themselves in the foot.

Joe Killian

The Schumer release seems a little disingenuous - or maybe just misinformed. I haven't heard anyone from the company say they aren't moving forward with the plan - just that they're postponing it so they can further "educate" the public about it.

While no one we've talked to says the company has a time line for re-introducing it, none of them even suggested that the idea has actually been "ended."

Ged

I have to disagree with Sue that tier pricing is the future. Usage is only going to continue to climb and people are going to expect and demand unlimited bandwidth. I don't run out to check my water meter every month, and I don't get a message on my TV saying when I've gone over a tier limit, do I want to purchase more TV?

No, again, this isn't about bandwidth. It's about Time Warner doing anything and EVERYTHING to keep you from canceling your cable TV service and having to provide you with the bandwidth to watch Boxee, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and other on your computer / soon to be living room TV. Infrastructure can be upgraded. Costs are *dropping* not, rising. Don't fall for the trap that the poor old company is in dire straights when they have a veritable monopoly on fast internet access in this country.

If you do, we'll all be sorry.

Ed Cone

"I don't run out to check my water meter every month."

No, but you do have metered usage, as you do with electricity.

The TWC plan was terrible -- ridiculously low tiers, metering the wrong thing, anti-competitive in nature.

But tiered plans are not inherently a bad idea.

Roch101

To top off Anthon'y excellent analogy, the company is also telling us that it is having to introduce this new pricing scheme for New Coke because they are afraid of running out of shelf-space for New Coke -- this despite the fact that Diet Coke, Tab, Sprite and all other Coke products also on the same shelf are not subject to the new pricing scheme. Is the company running out of shelf space? All we customers can see is the first row of offerings. We have no idea how much shelf space there, in fact, is available behind the front row -- all we know is the company is telling us it is running out and has singled out one product for the new pricing scheme.

Ged

Ed, they are a bad idea at the rates TW is proposing. If you paid $1.00 per gallon of water you used, you wouldn't think they were such a great idea either. As I said in an earlier post, give me $0.01 or $0.05 per GB and I probably wouldn't be upset. But until Time Warner comes clean about the real reasons why they are proposing these changes this is all a moot point.

*It's NOT about expenses*. If it was, your TW digital phone would count against your bandwidth and it doesn't.

We've been here before.

Roch101

Thanks Sue. To the extent that TWC would have a hard time being honest and saying, "We are raising our rates because we think you'll pay it and it will force you to think about watching TV on Time Warner Cable instead of on the internet," then yes, we agree, they have a PR problem.

Ed Cone

Ged, there is widespread agreement that the TWC plan was a bad one, for several reasons, each of which has been discussed here and elsewhere.

With that understood, people are discussing the larger concept of tiered pricing, which, if done quite differently from the TWC approach, might be a reasonable approach.

Sue

Well, Roch, dishonesty can create PR and marketing problems.

I still think they need regulating, once they tossed in the two biggies: (1) VoIP inclusion/exclusion based on carrier and (2) TV/movies revenue drop on the TV side and splitting off the Internet side to charge on the back what they can't get on the front.

What (or who) are Brad Miller and Kay Hagan afraid of? It's hard for me to understand their silence.

RecycleBill

Switch to Earthlink... The price is lower than Time Warner and it comes on the same cable with the same level of service.

And because Time Warner is forced to give a signifigant cut to Earthlink the finacial result for Time Warner would be devistating.

Ed Cone

Earthlink (which I use) would likely be a short-term solution -- TWC reportedly will be able to force them to adapt tiered pricing as well.

But it is a way of protesting nonetheless.

Phillip Dampier

We don't believe for a second this is a dead issue. It's my view they will spend a summer with the gas gauge and bring the whole mess back by this fall. We are continuing the battle because this is hardly a dead issue.

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