When cable TV companies didn’t have competition, they didn’t care about the customer. They only focused on the investor. This worked for them because there was only one cable TV provider for every region, so they had nothing to lose. Now that things are changing and new competition is growing, it is starting to hurt the cable television industry.
In December I wrote a column titled, “Will Comcast data caps, price hikes cause users to leave?” Since then, I have received plenty of user comment. Here is part of one that captures the problem Comcast faces. This is from a Comcast Xfinity customer who is leaving. The reason is all too familiar. If you are a Comcast customer, see if this rings a bell with you.’
The email said;
I just read your article regarding the 2021 price increases that Comcast will be “giving” to their customers. I am a Comcast customer (for the moment). I feel they have wronged me so much that I am leaving them for good this time. I never care to look back.
I am even shelling out the $150.00 that it is going to cost to break the contract. I asked my husband and as frugal as he is, he said leave them. He was shocked when I made the decision within the day.
Spending 4 hours in one day on the phone with Comcast with no results and spending more money for no good reason is bad. I have more important things to take care of.
I do hope for Comcast employee’s well-being that the company will start to listen to your advice. Because people like me who can’t really afford to just give them $150.00 have gotten so fed up with their antics that I am giving up the money to be rid of them.
I believe many more customers will do the same. Especially after my data overage warning out of nowhere. And reading how others experience the same problem. Enough is enough.
You had a very well written article. I know the company that I work for follows your thoughts because they do take care of the employee first, which then we (the employee) take care of our customers and then the investor is happy.
So, what do you think? Sound familiar? This one email explains quite a bit about the headwind Comcast is facing. And the problem they face is of their own making.
This is an important topic to investors, customers, workers and competitors. It says something is wrong and needs to be fixed.
Not all is wrong at Comcast. Their broadband service grew by 538,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2020. They also say 11 million users signed up for Peacock. That translates to a rise of nearly 7 percent in net profit.
So, Comcast can be a great company if they will only strengthen their weakest link, which is their poor relationship with their customers.
Comcast must learn to care about user and investor
In fact, these are the same issues they have faced for decades. Yesterday, they didn’t care. After all, where could the customer go? When they didn’t worry about losing market share, they never cared about the customer, only the investor.
Today things are different. The industry is changing. There is more competition from new technology and new competitors. That means they now need to care about the customer and the investor.
Comcast knows they have a user loss problem
The fact of the matter is Comcast knows they have a problem. They just have not done enough to solve it. Maybe they just don’t know how to fix the broken company.
If you recall, this problem was so common Comcast even talked about it in their television commercials several years ago. In those ads, they kicked themselves for letting their customer relationships suffer. They promised things would get better, and fast.
That was encouraging. I thought since they understood the problem, they would fix it. Make things better. Unfortunately, according to their own customers, that’s not the case.
I have written about this cable TV problem many times over the last decade or two. I said they had to make amends with their customers because competition and new technology was coming and would eat their lunch if they didn’t.
Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Altice, Cox Cable TV providers
In fact, this trouble is not just with Comcast. Charter Spectrum, Altice, Cox and others still struggle as well.
It’s very difficult to change the customers mind when they have decades of proof inside each and every one of them.
Yesterday, it didn’t matter much to the cable TV industry. Today and going forward, it does. In the years since, new competitors and new technology like many different pay TV competitors have sprung up.
Comcast Xfinity and AT&T are two largest Pay TV competitors
Today, Comcast and AT&T are the two largest competitors in the pay TV space. That is what I am talking about. Things are changing and quickly.
Verizon is also in pay TV. Plus, today as more programming moves to new media like YouTubeTV, Amazon TV, HULU, Apple TV, Disney TV+, Apple TV and so many others.
In fact, even more competition is coming. T-Mobile is one of the new providers. They are re-launching their own TVison service.
So, as you can imagine, the television industry is changing and rapidly. New technology like the Internet or IPTV, wireless pay TV using wireless networks and so much more.
New competition in pay TV threatens cable TV leadership
Today, there are large and small competitors which make it easier than ever for customers who are unhappy to simply switch away.
That’s why it’s so important that Comcast make peace with their customer base. Something they do know. They need to have a good relationship with their users or risk losing them.
So far, this is something which they have not done successfully.
The writing is on the wall for traditional, old fashioned cable TV behemoths. The days of cable TV are numbered.
Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Altice Mobile offer wireless
In fact, cable TV companies are now offering wireless service called Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and Altice Mobile. I expect to see other cable TV companies like Cox enter the wireless space as well.
Comcast’s problem may simply come from being in a leadership position. They want to hang onto yesterday’s leadership as long as they can. They did this several years ago and are still doing it today. They don’t seem to understand how close they are to slipping off the ledge today.
Pay TV is cannibalizing cable TV
The problem cable TV companies face is cannibalization. Traditional cable TV is changing. That means Comcast, Charter, Altice, Cox and all the others must cannibalize the old ways and move to the new ways, before their competitors can beat them to the punch.
I said this years ago and am still saying it today.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the executives at Comcast Xfinity and want them to be successful. They are good people, and they are trying to become a leader of tomorrow.
The problem is they are not willing to walk away from yesterday. They just don’t seem able to take that leap-of-faith. That’s a roadblock for them.
Comcast Xfinity must cannibalize themselves to remain leader
However, they must make it happen… they must cannibalize themselves and change. So far, they have not. They must dig in, recognize the world has changed and snap to it, before the change wave passes them by leaving them floating, but not growing.
Comcast must cannibalize themselves rather than postponing this action to hang onto yesterday as long as they can. That’s one core problem.
Today, they are hanging onto a sinking ship instead of jumping off and starting over again, the way their competitors are already successfully doing.
Comcast needs to take better care of their customers
Comcast Xfinity needs to take better care of their customers, or they risk losing them to new technology and new competitors. The cable TV world is different today and it is changing. Today there is competition, and the playing field is only getting busier.
In a competitive marketplace, in order to win, every successful CEO should remember to first take great care of your workers. Then, they will take great care of your customers. Only then, will the investor be rewarded.
Yesterday, when Comcast faced no competition, they never cared about the customer. They focused on the investor only.
Today, as they face increasing competition, they need to improve that customer relationship. That is difficult since they never did over the last many decades.
The bottom line is every cable TV company needs to focus on both the customer and the investor or they will lose. Period. It’s really that simple.