This week’s hurricane Sandy brought unexpected changes to the prime time television line-up. Rogers’ City-TV’s have only 3 shows in the Top 30 according to BBM 2+ viewers:
This week the first two were re-runs in Canada as U.S. Networks stayed with live coverage of Hurricane Sandy. As advertisers in these programs, a) would your agency even advise that the expected prime time original airings were pre-empted? b) would your agency negotiate compensation as viewers tune out of a show they just saw in the last 3-4 weeks?
That’s the value of real-time audit in media purchase.
An email from an organization called www.theartof.com is bringing a bona fide business guru to Toronto in November – Jack Welch. Very popular author and by all reports, one of the most engaging speakers on the circuit, the click thru to register reveals a visual ‘trick’ that isn’t at all in keeping with the caliber of the event – like seriously folks – $1.00 off ??
Third time’s a charm holds true as this time Rogers sent 2 guys and the cable was successfully run from the road to the house. All services – land line, internet and one television, were switched with no re-configuration required, which was a very pleasant surprise. Rogers did not have the second television on their work order, so a 4th visit was scheduled for two days later. This was completed without incident – and hopefully when my first Rogers bill arrives – it will confirm that the $49.95 installation fee usually levied was waived.
Now on to Bell to cancel all services. On hold for 29 minutes and counting. First unpleasant surprise: There is a required 30 day notice period for cancellation. Funny that when I called and spoke to a “Retention Agent” I was offered $15.00 off a $300.00 monthly bill – and what a shocker – no mention whatsoever that if I opt to leave – there would be a 30 day notice period imposed. How convenient they forgot to tell me that as I now have to pay two providers for a month. Given that I am saving almost $2,000 a year – still on the upside!
Next blog about some significant differences in PVR’ing between the 2 providers.
With a 2pm-5pm “window” on a Holiday Monday, a Rogers tech rolled in at 4:30pm. Tells me the exact same thing as the first guy that was here 5 days prior: ”Can’t do this job today – there are too many trees.” Well this is Guildwood, and it’s famous for two things: Trees and No Phone Wires in the air.
If this keeps up, the whole neighbourhood will be full of white slack lines running through the air, hanging in the trees. He goes on to ask for a complete description of the first guy – accusing him of bailing on a difficult job and leaving it for him. Obviously, I have no idea who he was, nor am I able to provide a physical description that’s the least bit helpful. I say he was Asian with a brushcut. Betcha there are thousands just like him.
Rogers wants to come back again, this’ll be the 3rd visit. No word on who’s going to cut the tree.
Update # 1: Civic Holiday Monday 4pm. Despite repeated warnings to two Rogers reps over the phone that my home has never had cable run to it, they sent a technician last week to “hook me up.” He took one look at the pole – two backyards away – and said, “I can’t do this.” Rescheduled for today. A Holiday Monday? Yes, no problem was the reply. We need 4 hours, so we have booked you in from 1pm-5pm.
Over the last 4 days there have been automated reminder phone messages, the most recent this morning.
It is now 3:50pm and not a soul in sight. Fun to sit home on a Holiday Monday waiting for the Rogers crew.
The apprehension level grows, the ‘savings’ seem less and less important.
We were early adopters, getting our first sympatico email address in 1996. My first ‘land line’ in 1973 was at a time when there were no choices, only Bell. A conservative estimate of how much money I have paid to Bell in almost 40 years: $47,000. Amount of discount offered by Bell when I inquired about the probability of switching: $15.00 per month off my $300 per month bill. 5%. Um. No.
The Big Switch to Rogers Narrative:
Monday July 23: My trusty BlackBerry Bold 9000 starts freaking out. It was over 2 years old – which in technological terms is ancient – and I am probably guilty of abusing it. .. Everytime I hit the a key it would type ‘ou’, which doesn’t sound too major until you try to write a msg. I couldn’t hang up from a phone call. Would just have to wait until it said “Call Disconnected.” Finally. Thankyou.
I own a media consulting firm, so there was no time to fart around – need a new phone right away. No time to research. Lord knows the Rogers retail staff (God Bless Them) can’t answer too many questions: “If I get this Samsung Galaxy III phone, can I sync to Outlook?” “Um” came the reply. So I stuck with Blackberry. Besides, I own some shares (Purchased 2006: $90.00. Value Today: $7.00) and so on some level, I feel disloyal to switch.
In a conversation with the Rogers rep at the Call Centre, she (rightfully) pitches me Internet, TV, Home Phone. As it happens, I have a new second television. Bell tells me they have “activated” it, but it sits on that message: “Searching for the Transponder.” If I subscribe to an HD PVR at $10 additional per month, Bell will send someone out. If I don’t agree to that, well, tough. My reply is that well actually – Rogers has offered me everything at 1/3 less> After 39 years, what are you prepared to offer?”
Transfer to the Loyalty group – or something. No problem, $5.00 of your internet and $5.00 off tv and $5.00 off the landline. Great, instead of $300 per month it will be $285. And still no-one out here to fix the new second television.
So, about 90 minutes on the phone (TV theme packs !?!) The time had come to say the words: “Yes, I’ll switch.”
Off to my nearest Rogers store to pick up a new phone. Settle on the BlackBerry Torch. Oddly, it is No Charge to me, whereas the latest BlackBerry Bold (9900) would cost me $99.00. When I ask why, I’m told it is due to inventory. Tons of Torches. Okay, I’ll take the Torch. Be a great opportunity to get “used to” touch screen – but still had my physical BBY keyboard. “Ah, I’m Sorry. We don’t have any.” Came the reply from the Rogers boy – who looked about 17 years old to me.
Off to the next closest Rogers store. Thankfully, they had a Torch. I asked for white, they brought me grey. I asked for white again, and this time, they got the white. Then, it was on to the pitch querying my other Rogers services. “As a matter of fact,” says I “I just took the big plunge and signed up for the whole works not more than 2 hours ago.” “I bet I can get the price down” says the Rogers Plus retail boy.
Now at this point my entire day has been about Rogers, but there is only one answer when someone says they can get you the same stuff cheaper: Sure.
ANOTHER 2 hours later: I do have a better priced package.
Dear Rogers Senior Executives: This decision point has been in the making since Ted owned CKFH. Do Not Pit your retail staff against your head office staff. Don’t take 4 hours of my time one day ! And please don’t screw it up when you come on Civic Holiday Monday, August 5th – to bring cable to my house from a source that is hundreds of feet away.
As they used to say on Johnny Carson: More To Come
On the drive in westbound along The Esplanade, there were blocks and blocks of black SUV’s and I knew there was loads of talent flown in for this one. Then I remembered when I first started attending upfronts some 25 years ago, Baton Broadcasting would fly in the talent too – they’d walk on stage, wave and walk off. In my youth I thought what a waste of money, and of course now I realize they are here doing press all over the place, not just saying Hi to us at the upfront.
This was the peculiar thing about it. Despite dramatic change in corporate ownership and talent, the show seemed virtually the same as it is every year, every decade really. Less on the CTV logo with the letters draped in red blue and green flying scarves, and tons with the now-familiar Bell font in Bell blue.
It’s curious that the CTV Upfront is widely regarded as THE best afterparty, but first the most lacklustre presentation. The Sony Centre seems the ideal venue, and the fact that the entire event management is outsourced shows in the flawless execution and excellent food and music. Even the program montages – which have been riveting and captivating at both Rogers and Shaw this week, came off slower somehow. Phil King, President of CTV Sports and Programming and probably the most un-Bell-like senior exec at the company with his hippie style and conversational attitude, brought the only freshness to an otherwise staid presentation. In describing Saving Hope airing this summer, he said a cliffhanger episode would air right before the Olympic break and then they’d use the Olympics to “promote the hell out of it.”
Bell did offer up some very cool social media tools and stats – if they would please just stop saying they get 14 million unique visitors to their website every month. They do. But the vast majority of these people never get beyond their Sympatico.ca email page. Kevin Crull, president up until last year of only the provider-side has taken to the television part of the business like he’s been there for years. Crull referenced Companion Viewing frequently, and I think they’re right on the money with this one. Companion Viewing allows live chat while the program is airing. Even a twitter hashtag bug in the corner throughout the program has shown to be a huge success. Not just deeper engagement, but boosting television views by as much as 18%, and perhaps most importantly, provides a real-time reason to tune to first airings.
The Branding of some of the specialties, like MuchMusic using Facebook is also driving loyalty, increased viewing and social media action. Viewer rewards are the latest way to incent people to sign up and share. Shaw Media announced the same idea yesterday, in the form of a partnership with GetGlue.
Either way, social media may prove to be television’s savioiur.
And of course huge #’s will come across all platforms this summer when CTV carries the 2012 Summer Olympics from London. Lisa Laflamme missed the proceedings today having wooshed off to London for a big ‘exclusive’ interview which will air this Sunday night. Might it be the Queen herself?
For more info on the 12/13 season visit www.bellmediapr.ca