Friday, July 27, 2012

Could Google Overbuild The Cable Operators

Kansas City is a buzz over Google Fiber and cable operators may be concerned that a new rival is in town.  "Google Fiber makes the cable-based ISPs look pathetic. It promises to offer speeds up to 1,000Mbps downstream and upstream, for only $70 a month." Bring audiences in at a faster and cheap rate and win them over.  "For Google, the main business purpose of Fiber is to give people faster Internet access, so they'll spend more time online -- where they're more likely to use a Google product and click a Google-sold ad. But just like Gmail unlocked an enterprise business, Fiber could unlock a whole new business as an ISP and TV provider."

And according to a Multichannel article, Google is also in talks with some large programmers, including Disney, Turner, and Fox.  How Google Fiber  tests in Kansas City could demonstrate the value to Google of rolling out this service across other cities.  Still the infrastructure to support such a rollout and manage the pipeline must be enormous, but if anyone has the deep pockets, it is Google.

Xfinity Means What To You

Branding is a tough game.  A new brand can cause quite a bit of confusion until consumers can understand its identity and value.  For Verizon, it was trying to explain how it was better than staying with Bell Atlantic or NYNEX as a brand.  For Radio Shack, it is wondering whether the name should be changed to reflect a changing technological environment.  And for Comcast, it means explaining why Xfinity best represents its bundle of products.

So far, consumers may still be unsure what Xfinity is, what it stands for, and why Comcast has introduced a new name.  "Comcast Corp. is launching a marketing campaign costing at least $170 million, to fix what Chief Executive Brian Roberts has acknowledged has been a less-than-successful two-old corporate rebranding effort."  Xfinity is meant to be far more than just cable, phone, and data.  It is how consumers live their lives in and out of the home.  "The new advertisements aim to show what an integrated Xfinity 'experience' feels like to a customer."  That the products actually work seamlessly together.

It may be the expectation, but I am unsure if it is yet the reality.  Do consumers know how to use the Xfinity apps to integrate devices? Do they see the synergy yet?  And most important how can Comcast get current customers to take full advantage of what they offer in order to unlock the value and improve customer satisfaction.  It is clearly a work in progress.