Time Warner L.A. Puts VOD on the Remote


To better direct consumers to video-on-demand content, executives at Time Warner Cable's Los Angeles division are redesigning the remote control to feature a single, boldly colored button that will send consumers directly to that content.

Los Angeles division president Roger Keating said his system is the only Time Warner Cable unit launching the strategy. Keating wants the Time Warner VOD brand, iControl, to be synonymous with on-demand in consumers' minds.

The switchout will presumably also mitigate some service problems for the division, which counts 365,000 total subscribers. According to system spokesman Deane Leavenworth, a survey of customers and employees indicated that 2.5% of the trouble calls handled by the division are related to operating the remote.

To resolve problems, service personnel must ask a number of questions to identify which of the system's five remote-control units is in the home, in order to give the customer the correct instructions.

The system will not attempt to change all the remotes at once. The first group will be subscribers who have set-tops with digital video recording capabilities. That service rolls out July 1, Leavenworth said, and the hardware already has a big button to direct consumers to VOD content.

After the change, Time Warner's division — which serves portions of Los Angeles and Orange counties — will have two remotes in the field: the DVR mate and the new Universal Electronics remote. The latter will first be given to new connects and customer that upgrade service. The system will design a marketing campaign to get consumers to ask for the new remotes.