Monday, April 9, 2012

Cable Wars -- Someone Please Explain This to Me

You know the annoying commercials where cable/internet providers are bashing the competition and trying to get you to change service providers?  Forget Dish Network and all of the satellite guys, I mean Verizon Fios and the regular cable companies.  These commercials are on All. Of. The. Time!  I don't think it is relegated to just this area of the country.

Let me lay down the background.  Still not counting the satellite companies, our area is covered by 3 major cable/internet companies: Time-Warner, Cablevision, and Verizon Fios. All well and good.  Verizon is available all over town -- they wired the place up when they came in.  Time-Warner is the only traditional cable provider that covers my half of town, and Cablevision has the southern half.

Everyone with me so far?

As I mentioned, I have Time-Warner.  On certain channels it seems like they are constantly showing commercials with Verizon Fios bashing Cablevision  for having slow loading speeds.  All well and good, Fios is looking to impress and get new customers.  I get it.

A few days later, here come the ads from Cablevision smacking back at Fios and basically calling them "liar, liar, pants on fire!" and citing their statistics that Fios is really slower than they are if you aren't paying for the super-duper special service.  (I didn't say I paid close attention.)  Neither one of them makes any mention of Time-Warner in their commercials.

I understand Time-Warner's motivation for airing them.  They get $$ for all of these ads.  Yes, they could potentially lose some customers to Fios if they were really offering a great deal, but not a big worry.  They are making money, and their company is not being trashed in the ads.  Win-win for TW.

I get Verizon Fios's reason for showing the ads.  They were the late-comer to the party in this area, and everyone with cable was already locked in with Time-Warner or Cablevision.  They want to get customers any way they can.  Cablevision covers a bigger part of the area, so they are concentrating their vitriol there.  (This is just a guess, but Time-Warner also owns a sh*#load of things, so maybe they have bigger and scarier advertising dollars and/or lawyers?)

What I do not understand is Cablevision's shenanigans in all of this.  Do they just have sooo much money they can afford to spend it stupidly?  Why in the world are you wasting money trying to fend off Fios's attack ads by airing commercials on Time-Warner?  I cannot chose you as my service provider even if I wanted!  You do not cover this area.  You are not an option.  What is the point of advertising to me?

Sorry for the rant.  I'm a little tired of seeing these commercials, in case you couldn't tell.

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