Verizon expands its push for younger, tech-oriented FiOS subscribers


Hot on the heels of its pilot campaign to lure younger consumers who live in apartments and condos in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) says it's planning to expand the hyperlocal marketing and awareness effort for its FiOS TV and Internet offerings to target young professionals in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The telco is trying to lure Echo Boomers--Gen X and Y--who live in multi-dwelling units to its services, noting that 25- to 39-year-olds use social media and the Internet and spend as much as 14 hours online per week.

The effort is part of the company's goal to increase penetration in areas where its FiOS service already is deployed, instead of having to expand its footprint... a more costly customer acquisition tool.

Verizon said its FiOS services already are available to more than 2 million multi-family units in parts of 12 states and the District of Columbia. About half of all Verizon's FiOS lines opened for sale this year will be in apartments and condos.

"Given the importance that young professionals place on technology to get ahead at work while staying connected with friends, we want to help as many residents of multidwelling units as possible enjoy the borderless lifestyle FiOS offers," said Pedro Correa, vice president of Verizon Enhanced Communities, a unit within Verizon focused on marketing the company's FiOS voice, high-speed Internet and TV services to tenants and property managers of multidwelling unit properties.

Verizon said it offers apartment and condo dwellers a range of FiOS Internet at speeds including 25/25 megabits per second (mbps), 35/35 mbps and 50/20 mbps, as well as FiOS TV.

Verizon hyperlocal marketing campaigns in the Washington metropolitan area helped showcase FiOS to Echo Boomers who live in, or are seeking to move into, MDUs that represent more than 20 percent of all residences served by Verizon in the D.C. metro area.

Those users, Verizon says, are more likely than the average adult to consider the Internet as their primary source of entertainment.

Verizon's campaign included immersive digital advertising combined with social media engagement, plus a concentrated presence of out-of-home advertising and local events with prospective customers, a strategy it says it will continue to employ in metro New York, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles. Verizon will focus on places like gyms, restaurants, bars, movie theatres, malls and transit centers.

In metro New York, the campaign will include parts of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx; parts of Long Island; the northern suburbs in Westchester and Rockland counties; and northern New Jersey communities--all areas where cable companies Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) currently are strong.

The Philadelphia region--a Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) stronghold--will include the northwestern suburbs chiefly located in Chester and Montgomery counties.

In North Texas, another TWC territory, the emphasis will be on the northern suburbs of Dallas and Forth Worth, including more than a dozen communities such as Plano, Irving, Lewisville and Grapevine and in parts of Tarrant, Denton, Dallas and Collin counties. The Southern California focus--where there's a plethora of pay-TV providers--will include beach communities stretching north of Malibu and south to Huntington Beach; parts of inland Ventura County, including Thousand Oaks; and parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties including Long Beach.

Verizon says it's planning to offer an array of bundles, including some deals that waive activation, and provide a free wireless router and premium video content.

It has created a region-specific microsite that shows the MDUs where FiOS is available in metro New York, Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Verizon saw its FiOS video numbers grow by 194,000 subscribers in the last quarter, giving it 4.2 million FiOS TV subscribers; it grew its high-speed Internet subscriber base by 201,000, to finish the year at 4.8 million subs. Can its drive for Echo Boomers take it a step closer to 5 million? Stay tuned.--Jim