Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pick It, Pack It, Watch It. For real, please

Starhub should be applauded for starting off a lot of services that benefits subscribers like per second billing, free broadband and free phone line etc. If not for them, we might still see a rigid competition with providers bullying subscribers as they like.

Recently they launched the Pick It Pack It Watch It ads that centers around the message that more choices equal more entertainment. While it sounds good, it is pretty much the same as before.

Bottom line here is profits and anyone can understand that clearly hence the need for rigid T&C. Question is, can they actually do better by seemingly losing at first but gaining in the end?

When they launched their mobile service with free incoming calls, the other players, even subscribers themselves thought they were crazy. See who is laughing now?

So if they were daring with their mobile services, why are they chickening out with their cable TV?

Starhub can actually get more subscribers by giving them more real choices. A lot of potential subscribers were put off by the way the price plans are packaged. Take for example soccer fans. If these group of people just want to watch soccer and nothing else, why force them to subscribe to Hallmark channel with the mandatory basics group?

From a business point of view, it is understandable that they need to have a minimum subscription plan just like every other service. They can, in my opinion, still achieve that by allowing subscribers to subscribe to any channels as long as they meet the minimum amount.

Currently, the minimum channels you have to subscribe to are 3 basic groups that cost $24. Why can't they allow subscribers to choose any channels as long as the total cost meets the minimum requirement of $24? Even if a subscriber fails to meet the minimum amount, they will still be charged $24.

This way, subscribers feel that they have total control of what they want to watch. They will not feel short changed for having forced to subscribe to channels they will never watch.

Take for example again the soccer fans. The sports group cost $25 packed together with golf channels that most soccer fans might never watch. Many felt short changed.

Another example would be those subscribers who want entertainment channels only. To get the SCI FI channel which is now under basic plus groups, a subscriber have no choice but to subscribe to other channels like basic education or news. Again, short changed.

If Starhub foresees administration issue or abuse, charge subscribers administrative fee if they are fickle minded and want to subscribe to different channels frequently. If they can provide VOD service at a press of a button, why can't they provide such service when it comes to subscribing to different channels.

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