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How MSOs Can Master Their Marketing in the Age of Bundles

Michelle Peel

As I poured my much-needed cup of coffee this morning, I ran into my colleague, Donna. “11 more days!” I said with excitement. “I know. I can’t wait,” she responded. Eleven more days until the premiere of the fourth season of “This is Us.” I remember when Donna started watching the show; every Wednesday morning she told me how good it was. So halfway through the first season, I binge-watched “This is Us”— now I am hooked, too! And in both my rabid viewership and more casual TV habits, I’m not alone…

Americans are Hooked to Their TVs

There are 120.6 million TV homes in the U.S. for the 2019-20 TV season, according to Nielsen’s National Television Household Universe Estimates, an increase of 0.6% from last year. Nielsen defines TV homes as having “at least one operable TV/monitor with the ability to deliver video.” Numbers have fluctuated as smart devices take up more of the consumer space, but as of 2015, the average U.S. household had more than two televisions.

2018 MSO Marketing Included More than 1 Billion Pieces of Direct Mail

Companies that provide cable TV services are using the power of direct mail to engage new and existing subscribers. According to Comperemedia, Multiple System Operators (MSOs), companies that operate multiple cable television systems, mailed more than 1.2 billion pieces in 2018. Nearly 740 million pieces were mailed January through July of this year. The top two companies, Charter and Comcast, mailed 78% of the total mail volume.

These were mostly acquisition (76%) and cross-sell (19.0%) mailings promoting their TV, internet, video streaming app products, and mobile services. MSO marketing efforts are combining direct mail with multichannel marketing strategies as a call-to-action to new and existing subscribers by directing them to respond by calling an 800 number (98%) or visiting their website (90%).

MSO Direct Marketing Trends

MSOs are promoting products, services, and even premium channels to maintain their subscriber base and grow their market share. Comperemedia recently highlighted these MSO marketing trends:

  • Wireless offers: Last quarter, a third of all cross-sell and upgrade offers featured mobile services. Comcast and Charter included their mobile products in 30% and 49% of their offers. They leveraged their expansive networks to offer mobile services and better position themselves as all-in-one service providers.
  • Blending features: MSOs are highlighting their brand value by integrating features across separate services. Cox featured its Voice Everywhere option, which allows home phone service to forward to subscribers’ mobile devices.
  • Premium channels: While premium channel content is already a bonus feature for bundle offers, premium channels are now being offered as an upgrade feature for television and online services. Because of its brand recognition, HBO is a popular premium channel choice among MSOs.

What Your MSO Marketing Can Learn from “This is Us”

My favorite character on “This is Us” has to be Beth Pearson. She is the outspoken and “keeping it real” wife of Randall Pearson and the mother of their two daughters, Tess and Annie. Beth is smart, direct, and knows how to get a response… reminds me of a successful direct mail campaign.

Our executive creative director, Mike Dietz, knows how to make your direct mail piece more engaging. Using Mike’s proven design tips combined with Beth’s authentic character traits, MSOs can engage new and existing subscribers for a successful direct mail campaign:

  • Be smart about the packaging and design. The first thing a recipient sees when they open their mailbox is your envelope. Make it stand out with smart design choices… stock, finish, size, messaging, color, and unique opening devices.
  • Be direct. Use color and graphics to direct the recipient’s attention to your featured products and services.
  • Get a response. The call-to-action needs to be prominent on your direct mail piece. Card packages continue to deliver results for marketers. Personalize the card with the new or existing subscriber’s name, your special offer, your toll-free number, and/or your website as a call-to-action.

If you’re an MSO marketer looking for tips to acquire and retain subscribers, contact us today!

P.S. Mark your calendars… “This is Us” airs on Tuesday, September 24, at 9:00 p.m. EDT on NBC. Donna and I will be watching!

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2019/09/13/mso-marketing-trends-2019/
Michelle Peel


Michelle Peel

As Sales Content and Research Manager, Michelle enhances the customer experience for our clients by keeping her finger on the pulse of key consumer trends, new vertical market developments, and competitor insights that impact their business. A graduate of Elizabethtown College with more than 20 years of direct marketing experience, she brings the “make it happen” attitude to IWCO Direct every day. She is a dedicated Pittsburgh Steelers fan who enjoys shopping, crafting, and spending time with her family.

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