Cable Industry Tries To Distance Itself From Decades Of Poor Service By Eliminating The Word 'Cable'

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Annoyance with the cable industry appears to have reached the tipping point, with consumers fed up with skyrocketing prices, inflexible programming options and some of the worst customer service in any U.S. industry. The cable industry's ingenious solution? Stop using the word cable. Last week, the cable industry held its annual trade conference, previously dubbed "The Cable Show." Trying to distance itself from the aging, negative associations with the word "cable," the industry has decided to rename the conference The Internet & Television Expo.

Former FCC boss turned top lobbyist Michael Powell "hates" the word cable and wanted to turn the page on the word's negative connotations:
"I hate the name," Michael Powell, president of NCTA, the cable industry’s trade group, said Tuesday. "It doesn’t fairly capture what they do."...This year’s trade show was renamed to "be more centered around its future as it's associated with the Internet," Powell said on stage at the conference. The term "cable company," he said, "has a proud history, but it needs to be retired."
Of course when your entire business revolves around using coaxial cable to deliver Internet and television service, deciding to drop the word in the hopes of forcing a brand refresh might be an uphill climb. Most attendees of the show couldn't remember the new name, and just wound up calling the conference by the old name for simplicity's sake:
"It's called Internet something something something, right?” said Chris Gagliano, who works at Anvato Inc., which provides online video software. "I don’t even know what it stands for." Most people preferred to call it the “cable show,” even if that’s not the name anymore. "I'll probably call it that forever," said Brian Hanrahan, a regional sales manager at Optelian, which helps build broadband networks. "Until everyone else starts calling it 'INTX,' I’m going to call it the cable show."
Clearly, it's going to take a lot more than a simple word change to erase memories of waiting days for the cable man or spending four hours trying to get an answer from Comcast's kafka-esque phone support system. Atrocious customer service certainly isn't the word "cable's" fault. It's thanks to a lack of competition and the resulting apathy, which by proxy results in skimping on subcontractor and support quality. Eliminating the word cable in the hopes of fixing this industry chain of dysfunction is kind of like trying to put out a forest fire by proudly proclaiming it's a walnut -- it's just not going to get to the root of the problem.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 7:22am

    Next:

    CIA tries to distance themselves from torture culture by re-branding it "Enhanced Interrogation".

    Government tries to distance itself from unemployment ratios by re-branding the unemployed as "People Available For Hire".


    This could be fun...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gumnos (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 8:41am

      Re: Renaming

      That isn't tax-evasion, it's an "alternate payment plan".

      That isn't stealing, it's "undercompensated resource reallocation".

      That isn't murder, it's "problem solving".

      I'm sure we can come up with lots more on both sides of the governmental divide.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 8:35am

    My hate for cable companies isn't due to the word cable. It is more focused around the word Comcast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 8:50am

      Re:

      I was going to say something like this as well. If the cable companies really want to make people forget how awful they are, then they need to do two things: stop being awful, and change the names of the companies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 9:22am

        Re: Re:

        > they need to do two things:
        > stop being awful, and change the names of the companies.


        If you give them two things, they will consider it a choice. Executives will pick "change the name", decree that the problem is fixed, and continue being awful.

        If you give them one thing: stop being awful
        they will have to actually think about it, even if the thought of treating customers well makes the executives very uncomfortable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 9:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          True, but "stop being awful" won't make people stop thinking they're awful in the short or medium run, so it wouldn't achieve their goals all by itself.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 10:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            They are allowed to be awful. I don't have a problem with that. They can go on being as awful as they want to be for all I care as long as they allow someone else to come along and provide a competing service that isn't awful and therein lies the problem. It's not that they need to stop being awful so much as they need to stop being EVIL.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 10:34am

        Re: Re:

        Doesn't work. Telefonica was widely hated for its awful customer service and general quality to the point they were PROHIBITED from selling broadband for more users. The name Telefonica became toxic so Vivo (mobile phone carrier) took over and absorbed it (Vivo is a subsidiary of the same shitty group Telefonica but worked separately here). Guess what happened? Vivo is rapidly going down the same path.

        Names mean nothing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      And that would likely be because your experience with piss poor service and anti-consumer behavior is limited to only the one company as you likely have no other source to choose from for such an experience. This, of course, is the root of the problem. Had you the opportunity to be under-served by a different cable company you would be secure in the knowledge that this experience is quite common throughout the industry, although Comcast appears to blazes the trail as the industry leader in providing such an experience, ever finding innovative ways to rise above the rest in this area. Contempt for the customer of this magnitude may only be possible after at a certain level. Who knows what they could have achieved if they would have been allowed to absorb TWC. They had a dream.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 9:58am

      Maybe like Blackwater, Comcast be shamed into changing that name too.

      You know, Coax has a ring to it. It sounds like a camera they shove up your rectum to look for polyps and contraband.

      Maybe we could push a cultural name change (to differentiate it from fiber, you see.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 10:17am

        Re: Maybe like Blackwater, Comcast be shamed into changing that name too.

        What do you think the whole new Xfinity brand that popped up a few years ago is all about that they are still desperately pushing?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Oblate (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 10:48am

      Not the real problem

      The problem with the word 'cable' is that it contains the word 'able' and they were fearful of being sued for fraud or false advertising.

      Can't say I blame them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 11:18am

      Re:

      Why do you think that they now call themselves Xfinity?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 13 May 2015 @ 8:41am

    ""I hate the name," Michael Powell, president of NCTA"

    NCTA: National cable & Telecommunications Association

    :/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 8:48am

    "The Internet & Television Expo"
    TIT Expo

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 8:49am

    Ok let's just call it the Anti-consumer Show then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agonistes, 13 May 2015 @ 9:12am

    I can do this too

    Genghis Khan, community organizer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 9:19am

    Larry the Internet and Television Guy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 13 May 2015 @ 9:33am

    They're just following the trends

    Isn't everyone cutting their cable?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 9:47am

    Honest question

    From the linked Bloomberg article:

    In a telling milestone this week, Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company, announced that the number of Web subscribers -- more than 22 million -- has surpassed cable-TV customers for the first time.


    My honest question: what in the hell is a "web subscriber"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2015 @ 10:20am

      Re: Honest question

      My guess is the number of people paying for an internet connection.

      At the same time I do get the image of some knucklehead heading for the mailbox to look for their daily Reddit updates.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re: Honest question

        "My guess is the number of people paying for an internet connection."

        That was my guess, too, but I seriously hope not. If that's what they mean, then it shows a level of ignorance and incompetence about what the internet is that I wouldn't have expected even from cable companies.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: Honest question

        But what if I use the Internet and DO NOT use the web at all?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          orbitalinsertion (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 1:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Honest question

          That's like using a computer that isn't connected to the internet. You can make people's heads explode just by mere mention of the concept.

          (Except for "apps", which are apparently somehow different from "online" these days. Because phone.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Honest question

          This was what triggered my question. A huge portion of my internet use doesn't involve the web in any way (and I have several machines devoted to internet use that don't touch the web ever). The web is not the internet.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ysth (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 10:18am

    1 in 200?

    0.5%, 1 in 200, is not a small number of DoD charges to be for casinos or escorts, it's huge. Almost unbelievably so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 13 May 2015 @ 1:13pm

    Queue Jim Carrey

    The Internet and TV Guy

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    LauraTee (profile), 13 May 2015 @ 3:07pm

    I have my own term

    I usually just go with "MOTHERFUCKING COMCAST ASSHOLES." And yes, the pronunciation aloud is also in caps.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 1:39am

    I remember the Good Old Days™ where cable throttled you (or simply did not build in enough bandwidth on the local loop and oversold their capacity) for using you internet because apparently everyone and their grandmother was torrenting 24x7 and the piracy angle was just a bit of frosting on the cake.

    Cable, you've come so far.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 14 May 2015 @ 10:36am

      Having torrented with encryption 24x7...

      ...I was never able to get near Comcast's local data caps in a month.

      I was envious of those who had enough pure throughput to do so. Where were these mysterious data arteries? How did they do it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    lostalaska (profile), 15 May 2015 @ 12:04pm

    This just in...

    Cable companies want to rename their box of shit to "Pro-Consumer Happy Funtime box". Early reports still say the box if full of shit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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