Friday, March 15, 2013

Time Warner Cable Wants To Keep Customers Loyal

In New York City, Time Warner Cable has operated for years a very successful local news channel dubbed NY1.  For New Yorkers, the network offered an array of news and informational programming matched directly to the city they live in.  For those not in the Time Warner Cable (TWC) NYC area and a TWC subscriber, access is impossible.  Only TWC subscribers get NY1.  That limitation though is also an advantage as the channel is both well regarded and exclusive. 

But TWC believes that current customers, defectors to rival platforms in the market, including FIOS, RCN, and the satellites, DirecTv and Dish, and of course cord cutters might not know that they would lose NY1 if they left TWC.  "To hammer home that point, NY1 will undergo a 'rebranding' and name change to TWC News."  So why is this change happening now after so many years in the marketplace.  "The changes are the result of market research that found Time Warner subscribers were not aware that Time Warner owned NY1."  Rebranding is scheduled for this Fall. 

Of course, many fans of NY1 are not happy to hear of a name change.  And while it more directly connects the news channel to the corporate parent, it is hard for me to imagine that New Yorkers don't already know that NY1 is a Time Warner network.  And while I believe that exclusivity is essential to save subscribers from fleeing, my gut tells me that those consumers willing to switch from TWC to a rival cable operator or cut the cable cord completely know exactly what they are losing and gaining in the process.  For subscribers, I believe that the price point is overwhelmingly more important to their decision to switch than any channel exclusivity.  In today's economic market, price sensitivity to cable continues to be an increasingly bigger problem.  So name change or not, I believe it won't change the consumers decision to switch to a lower cost provider. 

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