Google Fiber Captivates Kansas City
Survey finds 60% of qualified population interested in Google Fiber's high-speed Internet and multi-channel video products
1 Gbps for $70/mo. or 30 Mbps for free disrupt a mature cable, telco and satellite marketplace
Los Angeles, January 7, 2013/PR Newswire –
Google's brand recognition, along with the prospect of higher Internet speeds, has enticed 30 percent of possible subscribers in its Kansas City metro area footprint, coined "fiberhoods," to pay a $10 pre-registration fee, according to original research from Ideas & Solutions! Inc. (http://www.ideasolutions.com)
In addition to those pre-registrants, the "Google Fiber Matters: Consumer Demand Study" found another 30 percent of the qualified population expressing interest in Google Fiber's high-speed Internet and video offerings.
"Google Fiber has conducted a remarkable marketing campaign," said Glen Friedman, president of Ideas & Solutions! Inc. "Historically, pay TV 'overbuilders' penetrate about one-third of their marketplace over time. This level of interest in the beginning is unprecedented. For Google Fiber, the challenge moving forward is to do an equally good job on the fulfillment."
The Internet giant employed a host of measured marketing tactics in Kansas City beyond the usual advertising and news coverage. Google and Google Fiber used their online advertising juggernaut, together with social media; they also hosted local promotional events planned by neighborhood organizers, opened a Google Fiber store, operated a Google ice cream truck and planted yard signs.
Google's marketing efforts paid off with a positive perception among subscriber prospects. The study measured 11 brand attributes comparing Google with the incumbent pay TV operators in the Kansas City fiberhoods. Survey results showed Google Fiber surpassing the incumbents across all 11 attributes. Even its weakest brand attribute - consumer privacy protection - scored higher than that of the pay TV operators, collectively. Nearly 60 percent of respondents trusted Google with their privacy, while only about 40 percent trusted their pay TV operators. This, despite the fact that parent company Google has had to defend itself in the past on privacy issues.
In other brand comparisons, Google Fiber whipped the competition. When asked about new largely IP-based TV applications on devices, about 88 percent of respondents selected Google Fiber as the better provider, compared to 12 percent who favored the incumbent. And in terms of cloud-based services, 90 percent of respondents picked Google, compared to 10 percent for the existing pay TV operators.
The survey data reflects that consumers associate parent company Google with the Internet and therefore are more accepting of Internet-related services from Google Fiber than from their pay TV providers.
"The downside to such high expectations is living up to them," said Friedman. "It's not easy to deliver and maintain a high standard of customer service and customer experience. Although Google Fiber ranks higher than the incumbents in 11 areas of branding, the company is unproven in its ability to deliver and fulfill a complex Internet and video service offering."
One specific area measured where the existing pay TV operators have some advantage is with video. A key reason for consumers not making the switch to Google Fiber is concern they won't receive all their favorite channels. Of the survey respondents who have paid the pre-registration fee, 40 percent intend to get broadband services from Google Fiber but take pay TV services from another company.
When it comes to video, the incumbents have the advantage of long-standing programming relationships. Unfortunately, video is their lower-margin product and Internet is their higher-margin product, making any erosion of their Internet subscriber base especially problematic. With its strong marketing, Google Fiber has gotten the attention of Internet subscribers. It will now be up to the incumbents to strategize their response.
Study Methodology: A total of 1,303 interviews were fielded. From Oct. 19 to Nov. 4, 2012 - a few weeks just prior to Google Fiber's first customer installations - 532 online interviews were completed among Kansas City fiberhoods with adults 18-74 years of age. An additional 771 online interviews were conducted nationwide, for benchmarking purposes, among adults age 18-74, Oct. 19 to Nov. 12, 2012. The survey instrument averaged 15 to 25 minutes in length, depending on the number of pay TV subscription services and electronic devices utilized by survey respondents.
About Ideas & Solutions! Inc.
Ideas & Solutions! Inc. is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that specializes in guiding media and technology companies in a rapidly changing business landscape; most recently it has provided expertise on mobile video and multiscreen video. The company offers objective analysis as well as actionable plans and programs to clients while working closely with leading research, marketing and communications firms.
Glen L. Friedman, Principal and President of Ideas & Solutions! Inc. is a 25-year communications and media veteran with extensive experience in all areas of marketing, strategy, business development and ad sales. Mr. Friedman, recognized as a Cable Pioneer, was a vice president and key architect in the launch strategy for DIRECTV; and he has worked in senior positions at what is now Time Warner Cable as well as Century Cable. He and his company have acted as a strategic advisor to a diverse group of companies including Apax Partners, Discovery Communications, Fox Cable Networks, Rentrak, Saban Capital Group, Starz, The Weather Channel and XM Satellite Radio.