Comcast Chomps Churn

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Now at the very firmament of its digital-cable offerings, Comcast Corp. was looking to maximize awareness and regular usage of its free on-demand content. The MSO, through preliminary research of the technology, also determined there was a direct correlation between regular on-demand usage and decreased churn.

The data also indicated customers were more likely to drop service during the first 120 days, so generating immediate VOD usage from new digital-cable customers was vital.

To that end, Comcast, in conjunction with Eclipse Marketing Services and Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., developed a comprehensive campaign from June through October 2004 to increase awareness and usage.

Led by marketing strategy manager Meredith Lawless Black, the effort, which earned a second-place award in the overall awareness category in CTAM's 2005 On Demand Case Study Competition, served up communications about the breadth of free content, incorporated educational messaging and promoted the MSO's subscription and movies on-demand programs.

Comcast used a number of marketing tactics, including ads in TV listing sections in local newspapers; a TV Guide wrap on the Comcast monthly programming title; tune-in advertising on the back of bill statements; digital-box messages; direct-mail pieces to new digital-cable customers within 30 to 45 days of installation; and a 10-page monthly on-demand mailer to new subscribers.

Without using discounts or special offers, the campaign was able to increase usage of on-demand content by 21% from June to December 2004. Along with the usage growth, Comcast reported on-demand revenue per digital subscriber grew 12% comparing the five-month pre-campaign average with the seven-month campaign average.

Perhaps the most impressive result was tied to the direct-mail initiative. Over a five-month period in which 125,000 customers received the information, versus a 17,000 customer control group, there was a 12% reduction in digital churn.

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