Verizon earlier this month debuted social-networking features for FiOS TV — to view Twitter posts and update Facebook with what you’re watching on TV — and the telco hammered home the pointed message that cable doesn’t offer such… allegedly… cool features (see FiOS TV Friends the Web).
But the features didn’t do everything people expected: You couldn’t post tweets, nor could you type in a free-form Facebook update. And, really, that’s what you’d expect a Twitter- and FB-enabled service to let you do.
Verizon heard the feedback, and it’s now adding those features via an on-screen keyboard. SVP of media relations Eric Rabe says New York City’s FiOS TV system has been upgraded, with other markets to follow. “One of the great things about FiOS TV is how easily the team here can upgrade and add features — features like these that cable hasn’t even thought of,” he writes in a company blog.
Hmm. I would wager a dozen optical network terminals that the cable guys have thought about this stuff. It certainly wouldn’t be rocket science for MSOs to add similar capabilities, at least on their newer, higher-powered set-tops.
The question is: Does adding Twitter, Facebook or any other sort of gimmicky Web 2.0 features move the needle on the whether a subscriber picks FiOS TV over cable (or satellite)?
In some small way, yes. As the pay-TV market gets more saturated, winning customers is going to be a game of inches. I have to think there’s some value in having a FiOS TV customer be able to say his buddy, “Check out this cool thing I can do on my TV!”