Time Warner Cable seeks customer sympathy, assistance

As the second largest company in an industry known for tiered pricing of its services, Time Warner Cable may seem like an unlikely candidate to appeal to its subscribers for help. Just this week, the company has begun a new ad campaign asking its customers to show their support for the company in its negotiations with network programming providers to prevent raises in rates the company would have to pay for carrier rights.

Asking respondents whether Time Warner should "Roll Over" and accede to the raising costs of content providers or "Get Tough" and refuse to accept higher fees at the expense of some shows, the campaign will be featured in television commercials and through an online voting page at rolloverorgettough.com.

"The networks shouldn't be in the driver's seat on what you watch and how much you pay" it says on the site. "You're our customers, so help us decide what to do."

Network deals set to expire this year include The Weather Channel, F/X, Food Network and HGTV. A number of local channels owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group will also be on the table.

Analysts are not convinced that the survey will have an effect on the negotiations, as past efforts by cable companies that cast programmers as "price gougers" failed to gain traction before.

Time Warner Cable, however, extends its appeal on the web site:

"We're just one company, but there are millions of you. Together, we just might be able to make a difference in what America pays for its favorite entertainment."

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I'm disturbed by this campaign. I'm a consumer and frankly Time Warner is the premium cable operator in my area. I pay almost 50% more for their service. They need to roll over and provide the channel lineup they commit too, or simply reduce the channels they offer and make their price competitive. Lets face it. Whatever results are garnered from this study could easily be overinflated. This is nothing more than a sob-story play by them and the customer's concerns left on their "survey" site will likely be screened and only those aligned with their corporate strategy will be passed along to the broadcasters. Time Warner comes across as a sissy crybaby on a playground during recess in this campaign instead of acting like a national corporation. The Fortune 500 company I work for (Finance industry) would never advertise in such a shady and biased way. Shame on Time Warner. Sell commercials during these slots to make up your losses instead of pandering to customers for unjust sympathy.

A few obvious points.

Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T, Dish Networks, DirecTV. . They all pay contracted rates to every television network in their respective lineups. As the network rates increase, the monthly rates of your provider are certain to do the same.

Every company is in business to make a profit. I seriously doubt anyone here has a shred of an idea as to what the profit margins are for any of these companies. Regardless of the technology used in delivering the service to you, be it coax, fiber, twisted pair, or wireless, those profit margins probably are not slim. Anyone who thinks that one of these large corporations is more charitable than the rest is a moron.

I have a shred of an idea. I work for a service provider in Canada. I must say the margins are quite small on a per/subscriber basis. The only way to profit in Television delivery is sheer volume of subscribers. With rising technology costs to deliver the networks content to enough subscribers to be profitable, it becomes quite a balancing act.

We (cable providers) must offer the same (if not more) networks as the competition. This is why your television channels come packaged together in the tiered systems we see today. This is to offset the costs of the esoteric 'networks' with networks you actually want.

The only reason networks are seeking more monies from the distribution channels is that cable companies (the TWs of the world) are eating away at their ad revenues. This is done via on-demand, commercial free content and PVR capabilities that allow YOU, the end user, to escape the very thing which was keeping your favorite network shows on the air and Profitable for the Networks.

So let me see if I have this right; TW wants us to decide for them to a) Hold the price as is and lose some channels. or b) bitch to the content creators, the people who should make money, that they charge too much. Do I have that right?

I had TW for 7 years here in NYC. I have never dealt with a company that was so incompetent at it's own basic abilities and yet charged SO much for it. I got Verison FIOS a few weeks back (we moved) and I am SO very happy with the bandwidth, the quality of the HD (OH MY!) and (surprise) the customer service. I highly recommend FIOS... as for TW, my feeling are the exact opposite.


I don't think anyone likes cable companies. Probably because cable companies are amongst the worst extortionists in America. They're right up there with Exxon.

So the programmers are price gougers, but Time Warner isn't?

I have to say that I am NOT a fan of Time Warner. They seem to be a company built on smoke and mirrors...

I have Time Warner and it is expensive and god awful. My parents get every premium channel with Charter for the price I pay TW for the bare basic package. But they have the monopoly in the area so I have to deal with it. No more price hikes please!

Most likely that was a special offers deal that usely only good for 1 year so when that year is up your parents will be paying more.

not always, every time my deal is done I call Charter and renegotiate another. They are pretty flexible when it comes to that. In my experience with them that is.

Shadrack said,
Tw will just pass the charge off to the customers (what else are they suppose to do, eat the costs and not make a profit?)

Well, its not like they wont be making a profit, just not as much as they could be.

bangbang023 said,
My girl has TW and their set top software is AMAZING compared to my cablevision crap.

I've been spoiled by DirecTV and even uverse lol. Nothing wrong with the stability, however that aside, features are severely lacking compared to the above.

bangbang023 said,
My girl has TW and their set top software is AMAZING compared to my cablevision crap.

Since TW's software is pretty bad, I'm afraid to see how bad Cablevision's is!

So does this mean their customers should "get tough" instead of "rolling over" when they raise their rates? I think so.

I'm sure if their rates do go up some customers will leave and time Warner will ultimatly lose money. I think that tw point is valid as this will hurt them as much as it hurts the consumer. But you are right. Tw will just pass the charge off to the customers (what else are they suppose to do, eat the costs and not make a profit?)

Shadrack said,
...what else are they suppose to do, eat the costs and not make a profit?

Of course they're supposed to make a profit. And I have no problem with that. My problem with TW is the excess of costs that they incure through bad process and stupidity. Most companies here in the US have had to find ways to cut costs in the past 12+ months (and maybe TW has cut costs, I honestly do not know) However, EVERY time I had to call them (approx every 6 months the service would simply drop) the response on the other side of the phone has been pathetic (to say that nicely) and now the want the customer to blame the content providers? pullleze!