While Getting Deeper Into Homes, Comcast Won't Give Up On Cable's Original Mission
One would think cable TV operators -- with all the other products they sell into households -- could almost care less about getting growth from adding more basic cable subscribers.
But apparently that isn’t the case for Comcast.
At an investor conference, Comcast Chairman/CEO Brian Roberts said Comcast is on a "mission" to giddy-up more basic video customers to its stables. How does that happen? Roberts said new product developments will lure in new customers (and even perhaps former customers).
For the past several years, cable operators been telling Wall Street a slightly different story – that higher revenues from broadband or mobile phone businesses is good news for shareholders.
When the story has turned to slowly slipping numbers of basic video subscribers, operators have pushed the angle that consumers have been increasingly paying more a month for their cable TV packages. Many operators are now getting anywhere from $120 to $150 a month.
No doubt cable operators will continue that storyline by pushing those levels up and that storyline.
Roberts’ intent to lure new customers comes in part from Comcast’s existing and obvious Xfinity programming mobile apps, interactive guides, bigger libraries of video-on-demand programming and movies, and newfangled DVR/set-top box units.
But in the future, Comcast wants to expand its products somewhat outside the traditional media/communications area -- into home security and energy management systems.
Where will these new customers come from? Still-unplugged TV consumers? Satellite or telco customers? Utility, gas or electrical?
No doubt this kind of growth will be tough to come by. But it is honorable that Roberts believes he can lure new customers to Comcast’s cable systems – which have been humbled by much comic mockery and derision in popular culture through the years. (Roberts notes that customer service has made major improvements).
All this will mean some creative marketing on Comcast’s part. Those ‘triple play package” marketing efforts of the recent past could easily evolve into quintuple -- or more – play packages. Copywriters will need to work on this, however.
What about the total price? Someone must be secretly thinking north of $200 a month. Sounds like a bargain. When that occurs, I can then complain about home security and privacy broadband issues at the same time.