SkyFILES: The Pig Delivers for Satellite TV


Supporting Founder
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Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
Las Vegas, Nevada
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The timing of the pig couldn't have been better.

Earlier this week, EchoStar took the wraps off of its "Stop Feeding the Pig" campaign, in which the satellite TV company compares the cable business to a pen full of hogs. Yes, the MSO swine are still the target of the scrappy DISH Network service.

What's not surprising is the speed EchoStar got the ads out to the public, given it's a company that likes to move at a million miles an hour. Also what's not surprising is the cable industry reaction.

This week, CTAM (the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing), took the wraps off the wired industry's "OnlyCableCan" campaign, designed to let consumers know about cable's products and services. TV ads have apparently began airing, and a Web site highlighting the "OnlyCableCan" effort is being introduced to consumers in two stages.

It's speculated that the cable effort came as a result of rumors circulating around the new EchoStar ad push.

Unfortunately, the cable initiative is too little, too late. The DISH pork ads came in a furry of full-page advertisements in local and national newspapers, TV programming was inundated with a hog devouring household items in a poor cable customer's home, and "Stop Feeding the Pig" got the attention of media outlets coast-to-coast. There was barely a mention of the "OnlyCableCan" campaign in the press, and EchoStar's timing with the pig got its message out first thing Monday morning.

And EchoStar had the last laugh. The company's response to the CTAM endeavor: Only cable can raise your rates five times faster than inflation.

The pork campaign also comes at sensitive time for the cable industry. Cox and ESPN are engaged in a very public spat centering on programming costs. While satellite TV faces the same issues concerning rising programming rates, the business didn't have to launch a Web site or release economic studies explaining its side of the story to consumers.

And the pig ads come as satellite TV - a king of the consumer electronics space - makes its big push at retail for the holiday season. HDTV is big this year at CE outlets, and cable has its presence at stores nationwide. But at the end of the day, satellite TV has the better relationships with national and regional CE chains, and the wired industry is still a relative newcomer to the retail space.

They say pigs can fly? Not these cable pigs.

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Please note, SkyFILES will take off Friday, Nov. 28, for the Thanksgiving holiday. The column resumes Dec. 5.

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