Looking for proof that man needs food, shelter and cable? Check out some recent numbers from Time Warner Cable.
The cable giant offers a cheaper TV Essentials package designed to appeal to those “under pretty serious economic duress.” It costs about 44% less than the standard line-up at about $40 a month.
There is no ESPN or Fox News. No E! or Spike.
But, there is ESPN News and CNN. And parents have the savior in Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.
And yet, a mere 11,000 are takers. That’s out of about 12.5 million TWC subscribers.
The Harvard admissions rate is way higher.
TWC says it’s been successful at up-selling TV Essentials-type customers. People have called and found that other offerings provide a solid value. The opportunities likely include a package with Web access.
Perhaps, the mantra should be man needs food, shelter and broadband.
TV Essentials has been around since late 2010 when it launched in New York City ($39.99) and Northeast Ohio ($29.95 for 12 months) and has now spread across much of the TWC footprint.
The roots came in TWC’s efforts to appeal to a struggling group of people during the recession, while trying to hold onto challenged customers who might abandon cable entirely..
Last summer, TWC CEO Glenn Britt urged the cable industry not to forget those suffering mightily from the economy. It may not have been entirely altruistic, but it was still an extraordinary call considering it came as fellow executives spoke about how cable subscriptions remain an excellent value.
Why on earth would you cord cut?
But, Britt soured the cheerleading. Perhaps alluding to TV Essentials, he said people want their MTV and 500 other channels, but don’t have the funds.
“There clearly is a growing -- unfortunately -- underclass of people who literally can't afford (it) … it would serve us well to worry about that group,” Britt said.
As much as it may hurt business, maybe worry about their priorities.