This year, cable companies managed to pull off an impressive feat: A customer satisfaction survey ranked them the lowest of any industry in America
, lower than airlines and health-insurance companies. Folks consider the Comcasts
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) and the Time Warners
(NYSE:TWC) of this country to be about as appealing as staph infections and Congress.
And it's not without good reason. With inflated prices, mysterious monthly fees, embarrassingly slow Internet speeds
, and a total lack of choice in provider, the unpopular cable industry has pushed many customers to the welcoming shores of Chromecast
(NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple TV
(NASDAQ:AAPL), and Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) -- but not without providing many horrific tales of bureaucracy and incompetence
to persuade others to finally cut the cord.
So what are cable companies to do when faced with an overwhelming sense of disatisfaction? Lower their prices? Boost Web speeds? Allow customers to choose their ISPs?
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the RIAA of cable TV, launched a series of Web ads demonstrating how lost customers would be without their coaxials and set-top boxes. Unfortunately, each ad fails to portray a scenario that would justify a cable subscription and instead supplants product and logic for mutant bunnies and insect-human hybrids. (Seriously.)
Dubbed "The Hole Saga
," the ads feature settings like a desert bike ride, a deep-sea expedition, and a forest campsite (not places where one can normally plug into cable, incidentally) wherein characters face deadly dilemmas that could "only" be remedied with a cable subscription. The viewer then has the option to save the character with a cable TV solution -- although two of the four solutions actually involve online hotel ratings and video chat, two technologies that can be achieved with a smartphone plan -- or leave them to the sad, fatal fate of cord-cutting.
Aside from being nonsensical and completely ineffective, these Web ads underscore not only how out of touch cable companies are with the common customer, but how unwilling these multibillion-dollar conglomerates are to providing better services and infrastructures to boost customer satisfaction.
If anything, "The Hole Saga" merely reminds current cable subscribers that their needs aren't being met, and that maybe paying for 500+ channels they'll never watch isn't their wisest monthly expense.
No positions in stocks mentioned.