The itch to switch

Strategy Analytics has come out with a new report suggesting a strong willingness among pay TV subscribers to switch service providers if a 20 percent discount is dangled in front of them. Telco TV customers are only half as likely as cable TV customers to make the change, but the message should be clear to TV service providers of all stripes: Price is still king.

None of us may want to admit that in the age of whole-home DVRs, 100 channels or more of HD, TV widgets and hybrid TV/online viewing packages. TV commercials from cable TV firms, telco TV companies and satellite TV providers still scream back and forth about who's offering more HD channels, and service providers are forever on the hunt for new premium offers they can use to milk a bit more revenue from their subscriber bases.

But, the Strategy Analytics data suggests it might be a good time to take a step back, and listen to what consumers are saying about the importance of price. This notion could be particularly important for telco TV operators at a time when subscriber growth is leveling off for their fledgling services. If they really want to embrace video and disassociate themselves with landline voice telephony, they may be able to re-connect with higher quarterly TV sign-ups by focusing on price. If they don't and someone else does, they may risk losing some of the early market progress they have made.