Video: Cable's SMB churn reducer

It's safe to say that cable operators--who've been building up a strong cadre of services including everything from their traditional DOCSIS-based data, voice and Ethernet services--have been embraced by SMBs as a sound alternative to the long-standing RBOC regime. And while a lot of attention has been rightly centered on cable's ability to deliver high speed business grade data services--increasingly Ethernet--over their own fiber and even HFC, cable MSOs are finding that their bread and butter video product is just as important to their business customer base.

Such a scenario should not be all that surprising. At the most basic level, small businesses (doctor's offices, laundry mats, the local bar, hotel rooms and car dealerships/repair shops) are a perfect fit for their traditional video service as these industries are all about providing a good customer experience, and amenities such as video or Internet are those little things these businesses can do to keep a customer happy while they wait.

What's more, the business owner knows if there's a problem with their video, data or voice service they could have one number to call versus having to call the cable company for video and then another for voice and data. One cable MSO that's been keen on making video a big part of its business bundle for customers is Cox Business. With a major presence in Las Vegas, it's not surprising to find out that Cox Business has been targeting a video service package at the hotel and resort market.

Given the success it had in Sin City, Cox Business plans to bring its high definition video services to other national hotel chains in its respective markets. Hotel owners will also appreciate the fact that because the new service leverages Pro:Idiom-encrypted HD feeds, a common content security standard used in the hospitality industry, Cox won't have to go in and install new set top boxes in each room.   

What's interesting is that every time I meet with Kristine Faulkner, VP of product Development for Cox Business, the conversation always finds its way back to video.

"In the SMB space, we find that video is not only desired, but it's the largest stabilizer to churn," she said. "We see our customers that have video service have a lower propensity to leave us versus other customers that don't have video."

Of course, Cox is not the only MSO with business video desires. Taking a similar approach is Time Warner Cable with its own SMB video offering that it's selling through third-party sales agents.

Okay, so I know what you're thinking: Verizon has been aggressively offering its own video services via FiOS and satellite partnerships to SMBs. Yes, that's true. But I think the advantage that cable has--or at least in the near-term--is that they can tap into the already video-ready cable that is either already present or nearby these businesses. --Sean