Thursday, February 24, 2011

Verizon FIOS, Your "Local" Cable Operator

Verizon Fios has started running television and radio advertising in the NYC market touting itself as your local cable operator. The spots feature installers and support staff talking about being your neighbors and in your community. A terrific ad positioning Verizon FIOS as more than just a business, but also part of the neighborhood.

The most amazing part about this new ad campaign is that it borrows from the cable operator playbook from a decade ago. Back then cable pushed its support of local community activities including parades, its local offices, and especially local management and staff ready to serve. It positioned itself against satellite as local and direct, not nationally based like satellite. It pushed this same advantage when the "phone" company became competition, first with its digital phone service, and then when FIOS was formed.

As the telcos became more competitive in the digital cable space, the cable operators responded by becoming less local. Through consolidation of offices, management responsibilities went from local to divisional to regional. The many local offices and management teams closed to be replaced by multi-state regional offices. Cable consciously left the local space to concentrate on economies of scale and cost efficiencies. And with that change, cable operators lost their market positioning as your "local" company.

With the latest Verizon FIOS ads, it is now the telcos positioning themselves as your "local" cable operator. How ironic for the cable companies to lose this competitive edge and so apparent that the telcos have become the aggressors in the market fight. Do consumers truly believe that either FIOS or cable are local; doubtful, but if you say it enough times, a percentage of people slowly begin to believe it is true.

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