Subscribing to broadcasting success
A Sky case study

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Page 4: Maximising customer loyalty

Sky 2 Image 3It was clear from market research that the key to stemming subscription cancellation and downgrading lay not only in the provision of additional channels, thereby giving more choice, but also through direct marketing, on air promotions and educating viewers how to make the best use of the quality and wider coverage of sports, films and children’s programming. It was essential to maximise their use of these channels.

BSkyB continued to launch new channels, thereby improving its customer proposition and in September 1993, Sky Multi-Channels were launched, consisting of 14 channels, 9 of which were new. The result was staggering with over 500,000 new subscriptions being secured in three months.

Sky TV Guide

Market research showed that customers were having difficulty in obtaining programme and listing information, covering all Sky channels seven days in advance. In order, to rectify this situation the Sky TV Guide was launched in September 1994 by Sky Television and sent to all ‘Direct To Home’ subscribers, as part of the subscription package. The Sky TV Guide has been enormously successful with a current circulation of 3.5 million and readership in excess of 6 million, making it the widest read monthly magazine in the UK.

It has 1 million more readers than the Radio Times and a staggering 1,750,000 more than the TV Times. The Sky TV Guide has helped to increase viewing and loyalty and has clearly helped to communicate the choice and variety available. However, to perpetuate momentum BSkyB has continually sought to increase choice and value for customers by adding new channels, as can be seen from the dramatic growth of channel availability.

These channels serve a variety of consumer market segments including Soaps, Travel, Science Fiction, History, Racing and many more. By December 1995 Sky reached five million UK homes and satellite channel viewing now regularly exceeds 10% of all television viewing in the UK. In order to prevent cancellation, termination and downgrading from one tier to another, BSkyB created a sophisticated telemarketing campaign entitled ‘Turnaround’, with the aim ‘Fighting to keep every customer’. All customer service telephone operators were trained with new skills in handling customer issues or problems that could potentially result in cancellations.

In the past, customers relinquished their subscriptions without being asked why they had done so. Now, the company ensures the customer maximises the use of all the channels and the wide range of programmes, so preventing unnecessary cancellations. This clearly demonstrated to the customer that he/she was valued and appreciated.

Additionally, 150 outbound telemarketing operators have been recruited, who are trained to call back customers within 24 hours, after cancellation or termination. This has been hugely successful leading to a significant turnaround rate. Cancelling customers are offered an alternative subscription package and where direct debit payments have failed, customers are notified of termination.

Maximising subscriber renewals and upgrades

BSkyB has engaged in a significant ongoing Direct Marketing campaign. Direct Mail packs have been sent to a database of ex-subscribers together with postcards targeting upgrades to the lower tier subscribers, thereby encouraging subscriptions to new Sky channels.

These campaigns have been accompanied by a series of “on air” promotions. These promos have been produced for all major Movies, Sports and Multi- Channel events. Cross promotions have been targeted to appropriate audiences and special phone numbers have been used to make it easier for customers to respond and subscribe to new channels.

Sky | Subscribing to broadcasting success