New York -- Time Warner Cable wants to give its most
profitable customers the white-glove treatment with the November launch of the
"SignatureHome" service tailored to high-end customers.
"This is not going to be the same package with a few frills
hanging off it," Time Warner Cable chief marketing officer Sam Howe said in a
keynote presentation at Multichannel News/B&C's OnScreen Media
Howe, interviewed by Multichannel News editor in
chief Mark Robichaux, declined to disclose many details of SignatureHome.
But he said a key part of the service revolves around
specially trained installation technicians, who provide a more personalized,
high-touch experience for new customers. "You can create clues about that when
they arrive -- and it's not because they wear white booties," Howe said.
The installation component of SignatureHome is designed to
fix a concern of new cable customers: the perception that installers don't know
what services they ordered. "We will have the installer go through the home and
put Post-It notes on where things will go," Howe said. "They will say, ‘Hey,
you said Emily's room will get a DVR, too.'"
Added Howe, "It's not enough to give you a guarantee that if
we mess up you get the first month free. That's old."
According to Time Warner Cable's June 2010 trademark filing
for the term, SignatureHome may have a "TV Everywhere" element to it. The
application covers "downloadable television programs... delivered via a
telecommunications network, including using broadband devices and wireless
devices," among other things including home and network-based digital video
The SignatureHome service is part of a larger "reframing"
Time Warner Cable's corporate identity. The MSO recently undertook an 18-month
exercise, code-named Project Mercury, to evaluate whether to change its name or
introduce a new brand.
Time Warner Cable found that it had about $1 billion of
equity in its existing name -- and that the value declined if "Time Warner" or
"Cable" were removed, according to Howe. So the MSO decided to retain the name
but made some tweaks, making more prominent use of the "eye and ear" logo and
adopted a new typeface.
"It's not just a logo change or a freshen-up of the bundle,"
Howe said. "It's nothing less than the reframing of your cable company."
As part of Time Warner Cable's customer-segmentation
strategy, the MSO earlier this year reorganized its operating divisions,
consolidating five divisions into two East and West groups.
With the revamped marketing strategy, "the bundle is going
to recede into the background," Howe said. "The bundle isn't unique anymore...
They want the value, but people are not walking around saying, ‘I want the
TWC hopes the "eye and ear" logo to become as recognizable
as the Nike swoosh or the Target bull's eye. With the refreshed logo, Time
Warner Cable is launching a new ad campaign that carries the tagline, "We're
moving technology forward, to bring you back to the things you love."
Howe showed the audience a spot in the new campaign
featuring two grade-school kids wearing 3D glasses who lock eyes from across
the cafeteria, and end up sharing a huge bowl of popcorn watching a movie on a
Asked whether the SignatureHome strategy would drive up
TWC's costs, Howe acknowledged that it would take "more thought and more
hand-holding -- but it's more of what we should be doing."
Time Warner Cable's high-end customers, he noted, cost half
as much to support as those who represent less than half the revenue. "We've
suffered from a one-size-fits-all approach," Howe said. "We have to align
revenue and expense, but that doesn't mean we are going to disadvantage someone
who is paying us less."
Along those lines, Time Warner Cable expects to introduce a
new video package within the next 60 days geared to low-income households. Howe
noted that over the past year, some consumers who switched to cable during the
2009 digital TV transition are going back to over the air.
"We're going to address the question of the lower-end not
being able to afford pay TV," he said.