SPOTLIGHT – TV Wars and the Battle for Attention – Part 2

Written by on September 7, 2012 in BillingViews, Features with 0 Comments

Part 2 of the challenges and opportunities in TV written by BillingViews and 

The Workaround Trap

 The speed of change and innovation itself causes problems. The closely linked market of telecommunications serves as a strong lesson, where redefinition of the market and non-traditional competition have driven the need for dramatic change. Communications providers have been forced to decide what role they play along the communications, media and high tech spectrum in order to define a coherent strategy to adapt.  In other words, what is the “product” (or service) that they are trying to sell, and what is required to do so. TV providers need to do the same to stay competitive.

In many cases, when the industry changes this fast, companies become reactive and tactical. They iterate new products on top of the old portfolio and system paradigms. This means a new product launch is likely to be a variation of existing offers, defined and provisioned via spreadsheets and ‘bolted on’ until the budget and time become available to integrate and manage it all properly.

This makes sense on one level, because speed is of the essence, but this approach only works up until the point when the sheer number of subscribers, offers and systems that are involved in selling the right product to the right person at the right price become untenable. Errors creep in and customers complain and quit or at least diversify. As competition and variety of products increase the choice of provider, it becomes increasingly easy for customers to do so.

Companies that survive this phase are the ones who have managed to take a step back from the day-to-day emergencies and formulate a long-term strategy. They understand the need to define their role in the market and what they will sell and then plan an infrastructure that delivers it. Companies that don’t make the workaround angle their permanent approach are the ones that assert leadership in the market. They are better able to keep their customers happy, respond to competition, and ultimately retain and attract new customers.

Example – Taking Control and Reducing Product Delivery Times by 75%

The largest digital TV company in the UK took such a step. Faced with a large and increasing number of unfit-for-purpose systems that need to serve a large and increasing number of old style products, they recognized they had a problem. In an environment of unnecessary complexity, their customer service team became more and more prone to making mistakes in those vital processes between the sale and a product smoothly delivered to a happy customer. They took the strategic decision to overhaul their portfolio and their sales process, putting agility, speed and flexibility at the forefront.

As part of that overhaul, the company chose Tribold as their partner to rationalize their portfolio and remove complexity from their product development process. They were able to put the responsibility for products back into the hands of Product Managers – and their marketing teams. As Catherine Michel, CTO and co-founder of Tribold, points out:

“Control over the product portfolio is essential for CSPs seeking to secure and enhance their market positions. Understanding and effectively managing the underlying product set is the key to enabling more flexibility around managing customer preferences and experiences.”

The benefits of stepping back from a tactical approach and tackling the workaround issue speak for themselves. For this TV company, product delivery times have been reduced by 75%; early launches, synchronized across all sales channels, are now the norm; customer service teams make fewer errors and there is a 50% reduction in back office processing. The greater control and reporting of offers is realizing savings of £10 million a year, and sales, revenue, and the number of subscribers are all up.


You will only thrive in the communications and TV markets in the next few years by being agile and able to deliver the products that customers want, where and when they want them. How you do that directly determines how well you thrive – a customer’s desire for your product and their experience using it affects whether they stick around.

Time to take control?

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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