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The present-day competitive environment constantly brings new challenges. Characterized by the fierce rivalry in terms of services and products, the sphere of broadcasting and television is notable for the urge to recognize the most beneficial solutions and eliminate those which seem to bring only short-term effects.
In this respect, the tendency to develop an a la carte approach has become a concern: while cable television companies, such as Comcast, normally bundle programming in order to have their customers buy more packages, the prevalence of the new type of services is likely to become a significant obstacle. Therefore, companies should focus on strategic management issues and adopt new strategies that will help address the problems and prepare the ground for their future activity.
The Disadvantages of the A La Carte Model
The phrase “a la carte” can be translated into English as “according to the menu,” and this principle is implemented in various industries (Davila, Epstein, Shelton, Cagan, & Vogel, 2013). However, in the course of time, the meaning expanded. To put it simply, this model prescribes the opportunity to select the services that a customer wants and exclude those which they do not need.
Although it may seem favorable for clients, the a la carte approach has become one of the most controversial matters. Obviously, TV providers are not satisfied that they might receive lower-income, and they increase the prices to avoid it. As a result, one has to pay the same amount of money as if they had the usual package. Besides, people who dislike the idea that they are forced to pay for the services they do not need actually support their favorite channels: from the smallest cable channels to the largest ones, stations earn some of their money from carriage fees (Kline, 2016).
It means that they could not exist if the a la carte model were implemented, and a few subscribers would not change the situation. Therefore, this innovation cannot be considered effective. Since it is probable that the demand for traditional TV packages will grow, Comcast should design some strategies now in order to meet the potential requirements and simultaneously stay its course at the moment.
Since Comcast insists that a la carte services are not to be an optimal innovation, there are multiple long-term arrangements associated with this position.
To begin with, it is significant to address new business services and products. Customers are likely to be attracted by novelties; moreover, some clients return to cable TV services in spite of the alarming tendency of cord-cutting that has been commonly viewed as the sign of the industry decline (Lachapelle, 2016). Adhering to the TV package approach, Comcast may introduce a wide range of opportunities, such as virtual reality or TV intended for different age groups. However, prior to the changes, the company should take into account the existing technologies and customers’ expectations. Thus, two of the following strategies are especially essential.
There is little doubt that the development of technologies is beneficial, but today’s opportunities are complex and require a comprehensive analysis of market tendencies and scientific achievements. In this context, it is possible to predict some of the directions that are to bring positive outcomes. Comcast understands it and gives adequate responses: for instance, the company plans to launch a Wi-Fi and MVNO-integrated product next year (Adhikari, 2016).
The novelties are cost-effective and, as the company has estimated, relevant to the users’ needs. In other words, the progress and the implementation of new services and products are impossible without technological components.
Further, customers’ feedback becomes the issue of paramount importance because many decisions and choices depend on people. Comcast believes that “channels aren’t what people want, they want a fundamentally different experience” (McAlone, 2016, para. 4-5). The company draws attention to long-term perspectives and explains the inefficiency of a la carte approach by the fact that it does not provide anything new and exciting. Under these circumstances, the new products correlated to individual interests are central: X1, the advanced cable box that can sort out favorite shows and perform other functions in accordance with people’s commands, illustrates this idea.
Therefore, one of the most advantageous strategies is to study customers’ needs and collect their feedback. Comments and reviews should become the key instruments that will help assess the company’s actions and make adjustments.
Another strategy recognized by Comcast refers to partnerships: despite the fact that it is necessary to compete and guard secrets, the company cooperates with Netflix. X1 platform mentioned earlier puts the Netflix app within a click’s reach of Comcast’s cable customers (Morgan, 2016). Indeed, the companies are rivals, but sometimes collaboration becomes more beneficial: taking into consideration consumers’ needs, it has been decided that aggregation of some services will engage more people and generate profits. In addition, to enhance partnerships as a strategy, it may be recommended to turn attention from direct competitors to companies that work in close industries, for example, equipment production.
The following strategies are not usually emphasized, but it may be recommended to pursue them because they are also aimed at solving the problem of the a la carte approach promotion. To deal with the short-term consequences, it may be efficient to involve employees and improve the system of handling customer’s grievances. As the existing situation implies the necessity to obtain as many ideas as possible and then select the best ones, it will be logical to address more employees.
Not only the professionals who participate in this activity on a regular basis but also newly made teams may contribute to the development of new services and products. It will be especially advantageous if the team members have experience in other fields, for example, application programming: they will be able to address the strengths and weaknesses of novelties in a shorter period of time because they know the peculiarities and make suggestions using their specific knowledge. As for the customers’ complaints, this strategy will be supportive because the company should be aware of all imperfections to identify its growth areas. The quickness of response should be addressed. In this regard, it is probable to find specialists who will work remotely and provide adequate feedback.
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To conclude, any company needs a set of appropriate strategies because of the market changes. Nowadays, Comcast has to face the growing popularity of a la carte services, and it is vital to respond in an effective way. Several long- and short-run strategies may be successful. New products and services, technological development, consumers’ opinions, and comments, and partnerships are to be useful in the longer term while employees’ engagement and addressing customers’ complaints promptly should improve the situation in the nearest future.
Adhikari, R. (2016). Comcast takes the wireless plunge. E-Commerce Times. Web.
Davila, T., Epstein, M., Shelton, R., Cagan, J., & Vogel, C. M. (2013). How to become innovative. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press.
Kline, D. B. (2016). Here’s why you don’t want a la carte cable. Web.
Lachapelle, T. (2016). Comcast stays plugged in, but feels dis-cord. Bloomberg. Web.
McAlone, N. (2016). How the battle for TV’s future could take over your whole house. Business Insider. Web.
Morgan, R. (2016). Comcast buries the hatchet with Netflix-friendly cable box. The New York Post. Web.