Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cogeco Cable Values Service over Price to Keep TV Customers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Cogeco Cable Values Service over Price to Keep TV Customers

Article excerpt

Cogeco says TV market full of competition

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MONTREAL - Despite fierce competition for TV customers, Cogeco Cable will keep its focus on service over price cuts to keep its customers, said CEO Louis Audet.

The company, which operates in parts of Ontario and Quebec, prefers to compete by adjusting customers' packages to their needs, Audet said Thursday, the day after Cogeco Cable and parent Company Cogeco Inc. reporter higher quarterly profits.

Bell's Fibe TV service is Cogeco's most aggressive competitor on price, he said in an interview.

"We don't like competing on price," Audet said. "I'm not saying it's zero, but we really don't like competing on price."

Audet said Cogeco will contact customers it believes will be "tempted" to leave, offering what he believes is better customer service.

"It's a right-sizing exercise. Maybe the person wants a little less video, but they want higher Internet speeds."

Cogeco Cable lost 10,305 cable subscribers in its second quarter compared with additions of just more than 6,000 in the same quarter last year. The company has a total of 1.96 million Canadian TV customers.

Cogeco competes with Quebec's Videotron (TSX:QBR.B) and Toronto-based Rogers (TSX:RCI.) in addition to Bell's Internet-based Fibe TV.

In addition to price competition, TV providers also are dealing with consumers who are watching television either online or with digital antennas.

The Convergence Consulting Group has estimated that traditional TV service providers -- cable, telecom, satellite and IPTV -- are facing negative subscriber growth this year as viewers find alternatives and the market matures. Toronto-based Convergence has estimated that Canadian TV service providers combined will lose a total of 32,000 subscribers overall in 2014.

Audet also said Cogeco has felt the impact of consumers hanging up on traditional telephone service and is becoming a "victim" of wireless substitution. It's mostly young people and couples without children who are relying on mobile phones instead of traditional phones in their homes, he said. …

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