CTAM: Avoid Theft via Communications

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Cable operators hoping to reduce cable theft should focus on targeted communications with their customers, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing suggested after conducting a consumer study entitled “Evaluation of Signal Theft.”

CTAM suggested that cable operators use their employees to deliver anti-theft messages, rather than corporate communications. “Consumers are less likely to steal if they believe individuals, as opposed to companies, can get hurt as a result,” the trade group said.

The organization also suggested that operators use specific examples of consumers who are caught stealing cable and “make it believable” in order to address “the consumer misperception that no one gets caught or punished.”

The survey of 1,666 consumers, conducted by C&R Research Services Inc., found that 5% of respondents were involved in “aggressive theft” through scenarios such as paying an installer to get free channels.

CTAM said 21% of respondents engaged in passive theft, such as moving into a new home that already had a working cable signal or enabling cable thieves by looking the other way.

About 10% of respondents said they knew someone who intentionally steals cable or satellite programming by paying an installer to rig premium channels or by tapping into a cable plant or buying a black box.

CTAM categorized 23% of respondents as “morally righteous” since they answered “no way” to all theft scenarios. The trade group added that these righteous customers had an average age of 52.