Dish just proves same-ness

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

15 February 2010

DISH tries that old tactic: Price

I do this and I’d like to know if others, especially men, do the same: Constantly consider switching to cable (if you are a satellite TV user) or switching to satellite (as I do)? It’s a dilemma that may haunt all of us (males) forever because, when it comes to TV, we always think there’s something better out there. If so, we want it.

(That is why the greatest innovation known to humankind is the invention of the remote. We can always tune to more.)

As a subscriber to Time Warner Cable, I always take notice of the satellite TV ads. Is NFL Ticket really worth getting DirecTV? Will a dish on my house be an eyesore or something to show off? Will satellite go out when there’s bad weather?

Ultimately, what makes me stay with Time Warner is, even though I feel I’m overpaying for cable, the emotional driver for me is not cost. It might be whether satellite TV really has something I don’t have. That’s why NFL Ticket has such a strong pull. But, other than that and maybe the NFL Network, it seems they all have the same channels: HBO, ESPN, on demand programming, etc. I already have the channels they feature.

Which is why I find the new spots for DISH Network is so interesting. DISH is admitting the providers are all the same. In the spot, a man is asked why he would pick DirecTV when DISH has the same thing but is cheaper. “Why pay more?” is the question that’s asked. DISH isn’t claiming it has more. Just that it has the same.

“Why pay more?” is an argument I’ve had myself. But here’s the thing: I don’t switch. Why not?

I know one reason: I’ve stop believing any one of them is cheaper than the others. I don’t really believe satellite is cheaper than cable because the satellite providers don’t tell you that there is an upfront cost. You have to buy the satellite dish in most cases, and even the DVR.

Cable is no better. I already know Time Warner hasn’t been completely honest to me, telling me how cheap it will all be only to insert charges and fees I never expected. All of you cable customers know what I mean. Each time you open the bill, you’re a little shocked.

The other reason is that battling on price, which is where DISH is playing and why it’s still playing second fiddle to DirecTV, is tough to win unless you have an emotional reason for it to be important. (See Wal-Mart.) Otherwise, a brand that competes on price will eventually lose. It’s the reason why the lowest-cost provider is rarely the market leader.

In this case, DISH has made a spot almost completely devoid of an emotional driver. DISH wants you to feel like an idiot for choosing DirecTV, but it’s not strong enough to make me switch. (I feel like an idiot just wanting more channels. I only watch three.) With everything being the same – and not really believing it’s cheaper – it feels like a hassle. The emotional drivers (such as the “control” element in Time Warner’s “Power of You”) have not been addressed, and that’s the field where consumers make their choices.

Still, I find Dish’s spot interesting. It tells me everything that I’ve thought about the industry is right. It just doesn’t make me want to do anything about it.

See more posts in the following related categories: cable tv DirecTV Dish Network satellite tv Time Warner Cable


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