Cable digs a road to our heart

Rival firms have united to extol the virtues of a misunderstood system. Meg Carter reports

BRITISH cable companies have invested more than pounds 5.5bn over 11 years, building an infrastructure that more than 30 per cent of people can use. Yet for many, cable remains a mystery, which is why the industry has set aside rivalries in a pounds 12m joint marketing campaign.

At its heart lies the creation of a new brand identity for cable: a marque designed by Sampson Tyrrell to act as an emblem for both of the industry's current core businesses - television and telephony, and the media services of the future. "Cable - get connected," is the message, illustrated by two interlocking shapes in green and blue.

Maggie Cox, an account director at Sampson Tyrrell, said: "We were looking for a distinctive marque that would work with a lot of cable operators' own logos. It needed to be a stamp of endorsement rather like the Visa marque, something unifying but which did not fight each company's own logo."

A multimedia campaign created by J Walter Thompson continues the "get connected" theme. Commercials featuring Dawn French, the comic actress, are running on ITV, urging consumers to "get connected" and there are press and poster advertisements describing specific services, including telephony, Internet access and future interactive services.

Through co-operation with all the big cable and satellite programme providers, including Sky, the campaign also features programme highlights. However, the emphasis is on the broader range of benefits cable offers, rather than simply more television. For many companies, telephony represents a larger and faster growing business. Other advertisements emphasise that cable phone calls are cheaper.

Twelve leading cable operators, representing 94 per cent of UK cable TV homes, are backing the initiative, which has been co-ordinated by the Cable Communications Association, the industry's trade body. Participating companies will use the generic branding in local initiatives.

The campaign is mass market. Mike Hayes, the marketing director of CCA, said it was aimed at anyone with a television and a telephone: "With cable now available to one third of all UK TV homes, with a further third due to get cable over the next two years, only now is the time right for national marketing."

He has a point, but it is also true that the minds of cable chiefs have been focused by City concern that cable companies were underperforming. Subscriber growth was slower than hoped and churn levels (the rate at which subscribers fail to renew) are as high as 30 per cent.

The industry's record in marketing is poor. Digging up streets has caused irritation. Cursory handling of public inquiries alienated some. A reliance on door-to-door selling when cable was in place turned off others.

However, the industry has begun to get its sales and marketing act together in the past 18 months. Major operators have invested in telemarketing systems and a number, including TeleWest and Bell Cablemedia, are developing partnerships with television rental chains to gain a high-street presence. Bell is considering selling cable through the Post Office or in department stores and supermarkets.

"An important part of the new campaign is a telephone hotline," Mr Hayes said. One phone call will put consumers in touch with their local operator or tell them whether and when they will be connected.

One of the primary aims of the campaign is to win more customers but improving knowledge and understanding of cable is also important, Mr Hayes added. Research shows many do not understand that a satellite dish is not necessary for cable television. Others are unaware that cable also offers telephone services, while some believe cable phone links cannot dial BT numbers.

The industry cannot rest on its laurels. Within days of the CCA launch, BT unveiled a pounds 40m television offensive with the promise of further discounts on BT calls. BT insists this is not in response to the CCA campaign but a spokesman said: "The aim is to address customers either with cable or those considering cable for whatever reason, to ensure they know our benefits and appreciate our discounts."

BT is improving its Friends & Family package this week, offering up to 10 per cent off calls to a subscriber's five most used private numbers. Combined with the Premier Line scheme, home users can get discounts of up to 25 per cent, says BT. Its campaign is the first time it has directly referred to cable and compared its own services favourably and Mr Hayes welcomed the initiative: "It just goes to show cable is doing what the Government wants, introducing new competition. BT is taking seriously the loss of between 50,000 and 70,000 customers to cable every month. Acknowledging us is one of the best things it can do - giving us credibility in the marketplace."

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform