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Battle Begins for Next Generation Marketing

Broadcasting & Cable magazine tells the story of the developing business strategy war between the different factions of broadband service providers in the U.S. -- the tactical battles for marketing directed beach-heads has begun.

There was a lot of talk about phones at a recent convention hosted by an MSO cable group. That was at the Cable Television Public Affairs Association forum in Washington, where some cable operators argued they would pick up more phone customers than the telcos would add video service.

For example, John Bickham, President, of Cable and Communications for Cablevision, said that on Long Island, 27 percent of homes passed take phone service from Cablevision, with the company picking up a point of landline market share a month. He said he was not surprised that the phone companies "are starting to pull their hair out."

Time Warner CEO Landel Hobbs said cable companies were well positioned in telephony, offering the triple play of video, voice and data, and potentially adding wireless service to make it a quadruple play. Bickham said one advantage for cable is its marketing experience. Phone companies aren't great marketers," he said, " it isn't in their DNA."

Verizon spokeswoman Sharon Cohen-Hagar begged to differ. "I think that's a really ridiculous thing to say," she commented during a break from the TelecomNext show in Las Vegas, where the phone companies are talking telco video strategy. "Our marketing is paying off. We have a very localized marketing strategy that we're seeing the dividends of."

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