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COMPETITIVE SPIRIT: Why marketing battles between cable and satellite make for happier customers

As a consumer, you’re probably just fine watching from the sidelines while the cable, satellite and streaming entertainment services duke it out for the almighty dollar. Some customers would argue that the battle between these entities is more enjoyable than the actual programming that they’re offering.

Between television ads touting more channels and faster internet to celebrity spokespeople using their stardom and fame to tell you how to choose the best provider, the battle lines haven’t just been drawn between all these companies. They’re carved into our psyches. Who hasn’t found themselves ironically watching television from their current provider, only to see flashes of offers from the likes of Direct TV, Verizon FIOS or Comcast, telling you how wonderful their DVR service is now or that the NFL Direct Ticket, in the case of Direct TV for now, is included with a paid subscription?

Cable and satellite companies consistently battle for exclusive rights to programming or special events in the hopes that one extra channel or a contract for a few extra NBA or MLB games might garner a few more eyes on their service. The marketing rhetoric aside, the tooth and nail nudging between all parties involved proves to be equal parts entertaining and beneficial for the consumer.

Any time competition begins to run rampant, the customer always wins. Look no further than the notion of locking potential new customers into a long term contract or offering a low introductory rate on a monthly service only to watch it variably change over that same term. These types of business practices hardly would be considered the norm these days, as most of the major players tout no contract plans as commonplace. Even without locking you into a long term deal of sorts, cable and satellite companies continually try to outperform one another by “locking in” a rate that you’re happy with for some sort of time period, typically one or two years. So not only are you not signing up for a contract, but you’re saving money as if you did.

That competitive spirit sparked even further as the streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, among others, entered into the fray and only added to the competitive spirit by adding a lower cost alternative that piqued the interest of those customers who want to spend the least yet still receive the most. And who do you have to thank for this windfall of good fortune when it comes to your satellite, cable or streaming selections? Competition, of course.