While speaking at the Goldman Media Conference in New York, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, told attendees that future generations of consumers just won’t have any interest in buying cable bundles, the multiple services, such as Internet and cable TV access, as well as telephone lines.
The Verizon CEO’s statements almost directly contradict what comments made by Comcast CFO, Mike Angelakis, at the same conference yesterday. While acknowledging that this will become a major problem for cable providers in the future, Seidenberg cautioned that huge bundles and tons of add-on services won’t go the way of the dinosaurs over night.
If I had to decide which senior executive to side with, I think I would go with Verizon’s CEO on this one; he definitely seems to see the writing on the wall. It’s funny how long it takes some industries to adapt to the changing taste of different generations, either you adapt or you die. I am going to say something here and lots of you will disagree with me but for the most part brand loyalty is dead, what people are looking for now is value and convenience. They don’t care where it comes from as much anymore, especially the younger generation. When it comes viewing their favorite programs, it really comes down to ease of access and cost and they tend to choose the alternative that meets both of those the best.
The big cable companies can continue to dismiss services from companies like Hulu, Netflix, Redbox, and other providers as just niche stuff but I think that would be a huge mistake and a costly miscalculation. If they aren’t already planning how they will alter their offerings to meet the demands of a generation that is always connected and has a nasty disdain for ever feeling “locked-in”, then I would say they are already behind the curve. Blockbuster underestimated the threat from low-cost alternatives like Netflix and Redbox and because of it they filed for bankruptcy today. Blockbuster used to be synonymous with movie rentals and now they are just another iconic brand that will be the focus of high school and college case studies about what they did wrong. If it can happen to Blockbuster, it can happen to you cable giants, can you hear me now?
To all the folks that have either already “cut the cord” or are considering doing so, what do the big cable companies have to do to make you feel like it’s worth it to spend your hard earned money on their services? What kind of things can they add to provide more value? Hit up the comments and let us know.