I attended the last week, and a comment from an audience member during one of the sessions suggested that cable companies need to start looking at themselves as phone companies that offer video services. The thinking is that video has become such a low margin/no margin business, whereas most margins now appear to be coming from high speed internet and voice services, so why not label one’s self as a phone company? That theme was echoed again at the , where Kyle Alcorn, vice president of marketing for in Sikeston, MO reports that identifying themselves as a phone company has increased their sales effectiveness with potential customers, as reported by Multichannel News.

On the flip side, we conducted a study among telecom companies earlier this year, where one of the interesting quotes was, “We need to become a cable TV company that does phone very well.” Seems like both sides of this equation wants to be the other. The real question amounts to the consumer and their perceptions of these companies. Some recent national studies suggest that consumers have a better perception of phone companies and may see them as a preferred provider of triple play services. Of course the cable industry would dispute that and use their impressive triple play penetration numbers to support their argument. Service providers of all types and sizes would do well to find out how consumers in their target markets perceive them as a provider of triple play services. An answer to that question will help them determine what their identity should be – at least in the eyes of their target customers.

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