CTPAA: Ops Want Campaign to Keep Subs

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With cable’s battle against satellite and telephone companies as contentious as it’s ever been, cable operators say subscriber retention is the No. 1 goal for their public-affairs campaigns in local markets.

That was one surprising result of a survey that the Cable Television Public Affairs Association conducted in June with public-affairs executives with local cable systems.

Programmers have said that one of the goals of these public-affairs campaigns that run throughout the year — ranging from tours of ESPN The Truck to Court TV’s Mobile Investigation Unit — was to help cable operators sell new products.

But 71% of cable officials that participated in the survey said customer retention was their top public-affairs priority, matching the 71% that chose customer satisfaction.

“When we designed that question, my assumption was that broadband [Internet sales] and [voice-over-Internet protocol telephony] were going to be at the top of the list,” said Josh Thomas, vice president of research and technologies at Topics Education, which conducted the survey for CTPAA. “In retrospect it makes sense — you have to take care of the customers you have.”

Other top priorities for local cable executives were basic penetration (46%), digital penetration (44%), broadband sales (27%), bundles (22%), regulator relations (8%), VoIP sales (8%) and school sales (2%).

Topics Education conducted the 13-question online survey in June, and 86 local cable officials, or about 25% of CTPAA’s operator membership, responded.

Other noteworthy findings:

  • Just 29% of local cable officials said their major public-affairs initiatives are handed down from corporate offices, while 70% of respondents said they pick the initiatives.
  • Internet links for public-affairs campaigns involving cable networks were the most useful form of support cited (67%), followed by text (65%), video (51%), multimedia content (44%) and audio (38%).
  • The ability to tie public-affairs campaigns to new products, such as digital telephone service, was cited as the factor that makes campaigns the most attractive to implement (71%).

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