TelevisionWeek is teaming up with TV industry veteran Marianne Paskowski. The blog will give Marianne a forum to convey her deep knowledge of the industry and pass along some of the juicy morsels she's hearing on the grapevine. Marianne has covered the TV industry from the inside out and top to bottom, and TVWeek's readers are bound to benefit from her sharp eyes, ears and wit. TVWeek.com invites readers to jump online, chime in and pick Marianne's brain on the latest industry news.


Marianne Paskowski

FiOS: More Bang for the Buck

June 27, 2008 10:18 AM

Just got off the phone with my friend Bobby, who dumped Cablevision’s triple play and signed up for Verizon’s FiOS bundle of services: digital video, phone and high-speed Internet access.

Price was her driving motivator. Bobby was sick and tired of watching her bill go up from the initial one-year offer of $99 per month to $136. FiOS let her lock in a $109 monthly rate for two years.

Bobby got more than she had hoped for: far more channels than Cablevision had offered, plus free premium channels from Verizon for three months.

When she called Cablevision to cancel, she stopped them dead in their tracks when the customer service reps were going to offer her incentives to stay the course.

Which raises the question: How come cable companies aren’t willing to wheel and deal until it’s too late?

Bobby had made her decision and turned a deaf ear to what was probably a too-little-too-late pitch from Cablevision.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (15)

Chi-town Mike:

An old friend of mine that works for AT&T told me earlier today that his job is being outsourced oversees in less than 30 days and will be out of work soon. Another friend of mine who also works for AT&T as an Account Exec is aggressively trying to steal customer accounts from competitors to meet his increased quota which has nearly doubled from last year.

Broadband as a whole is a cut-throat business right now, and it's going to get worse. Some of this can be blamed on the economy, but so many businesses are running themselves into the ground to be the fastest and best that they are losing sight that they are first and foremost "a business " which is what is happening to companies like Cablevision.

"Taking care of your own" should be every company's bread and butter (Even in the technology "rat race" field). A recent business article stated that, "It costs apx 5x more to attract a new customer then to keep a current customer". Using that logic, your friend Bobby should still be a member of Cablevision.

Instead Cablevision will need to work harder to find a "New Bobby", because the current one was wise enough to change the channel...

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Chi,

Good point about customer retention. Given the competition cable if facing from satellite and now phone companies, you would think it would institute customer rewards programs.

I no longer life in Cablevision's footprint, but I vaguely recall some program it offered, but I never remember it being widely promoted.

I only knew about it because I cover the business.

Thanks for your post,


Yo, Blondie --

All that yammering all these years about the "cable monopoly" are true, and pointing to the cable industry's undoing.

Competition pushes down prices and encourages commoditization by the lazy players, and innovation by the challengers. Wow! Who'd ever have called Verizon an innovator? But they are, at least until the next breakthrough challenges FIOS.

Meanwhile, the cable monopolists have gotten lazy about their core competence, distracting themselves with Newsday, etc. Bobbie and millions like her are giving cable the 2x4 upside the head that they need to wake up.

Cruisin not bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

Cruiser and everybody. Here's a brilliant idea. Why don't we all call our cable companies, telling them, DirecTV, Verizon, AT&T is offering a better plan.

And that's not a lie, it's true. The queen of inertia, here, is still looking at the offer from DirecTV.

It's only a phone call, so why not?

Meanwhile, what does the cable industry's esteemed CTAM say about all of this? I don't know, although I did include them on my email distribution list.

Good to know you're still alive Cruiser, I worry about your life style sometimes. Are you in the country or wifing as usual from some tropical beach bar?


Dear Marianne,

Call 'em up and ask 'em.

If you want to know what CTAM thinks, call 'em up. They'll talk to you, won't they? On the record. Report back and tell us what they say. Better yet, call 'em up and ask them to respond here, in your blog, in their own words.


Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Cory,
Of course I will call CTAM on Monday, although the organization is well aware of this blog. I'm sure they have tons of research about customer retention, and I invite them to share it here.

In the meantime, I want to hear real life experiences about customers' experiences with their cable companies.

You will not hear about mine, because I will likely do nothing. I need redundancy living on the spit of sand. I have a range of services from the phone and cable companies, and I spent a lot of time and probably too money to insure that.

In other words, when one fails, the other works, and I and my husband have connectivity and backup.

Excellent. I look forward to hearing about CTAM's response to your call.


Good to read your blog about Cablevision.
Perhaps they will come around with really good incentives.
My FIO aint written in stone.

Marianne Paskowski:

Drum roll,
Here's Bobby! I smell good, but a "but." Hope she keeps us posted.

Yikes, I'm starting to feel like Norma Rae or Howard Beal (Network). Not on the ledge yet:}

Thanks for the post, my friend,


MSOs have been ramping up retention programs over the past few years. Cablevision has been at the forefront with automatic bennies as a digital cable customer, ranging from the usual free on demand movies to a chance to attend MSG sports or Radio City Music Hall events. One popular bennie is free movie passes at the theater chain Cablevision owns.

Its working -- at least according to Tom Rutledge at the NCTA Cable Show. FiOS penetration is still single digit in a big part of Cablevision's territory.

Oligopoly pricing is very tricky. Sure, consumers love discounts, but a company can damage the entire economic underpinning of their businesses if they aren't careful. Look at the old price wars of the cell phone companies -- it took years to get back on track.

Marianne Paskowski:

Thanks for describing Cablevision's retention program. Apparently Bobby was determined to just switch. Consumers don't really care about financial underpinnings of their cable providers, especially now when they feel pretty tapped out because of stagflation.

I must say you do earn your pay, as the head of CTAM,defending cable's marketing prowess.
Thanks for the post,

Dear Char,

Thank you for coming here and offering your perspective. You've been a popular icon of, and spokesperson for, the cable television industry for many years. I'm glad you see the value in participating in these kinds of conversations, of which Marianne is the master conductor. I hope you will keep coming back and commenting.

Cory O'Connor

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Cory,
Have you noticed that Cablevision is absent here? So much for customer care.


Hmmm...good point. They're missing a good opportunity to be heard. Certainly they have something to say about all this, no?


Hmmm...good point. They're missing a good opportunity to be heard. Certainly they have something to say about all this, no?

Post a comment