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.

TV Is A Multi-Screen Experience

TV watching is not only for one screen anymore. We blog about it, twitter opinions, and share experiences on Facebook. And when it concerns big events, like the Super Bowl and Academy Awards, we want to be as immersed in it as possible. "The most promising, and interesting, of the list is Oscar Backstage Pass. The app will work on iPhones and iPod Touches (as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection), but those with iPads will have a much better time with it.... ABC plans to provide users with options for eight camera angles not shown to network viewers. So if ABC’s on-air commentators are interviewing someone you care little for, you can watch elsewhere. The app’s live video feed continues during commercials." Viewer controlled experiences that change our behavior from passive to active. And that may mean a rise in ratings too.

And if you seek more interaction, there are other applications that will allow you to vote for your winners, the fashions, trivia, and other contents. It seems we are now no longer satisfied with just a sitback only experience. We want more and we want our opinion heard. These apps may be more prominent among the big night TV events, but it is heading across all TV, from sports to sitcoms. We seek more interaction and control to enjoy the show on our terms. And it just may help the content that we watch.