Like millions of others around the U.S., I got a letter in the mail this weekend telling me that my cable service would not change soon, but later will change dramatically. That’s because the Time Warner Cable-Charter Communications merger has gone through. Among the changes already announced: our cable company now wants us to call it Spectrum (as though it’s a pal and not a giant corporation we send ungodly money to every month in exchange for endless re-runs of Big Bang Theory and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
“You may have heard the exciting news,” said Tom Rutledge, the CEO of Spectrum, in the undated letter. “Charter Communications has completed the transaction with Time Warner Cable, and soon you will get to know us by our new name, Spectrum. As the Chief Executive Officer for the company, I can assure you that we are committed to bringing you the most advance products and services for your home. Our state-of-the-art, all digital network is capable of delivering all your entertainment, bandwidth and communication needs well into the future.”
Sigh. We’re talking about cable TV, right? I mean, they do internet and phone too, but really, this is about television.
“At Spectrum, we are working hard to redefine what a cable company can be,” Rutledge continued, apparently acknowledging that the previous definition of “cable company” is universally reviled. “You will soon have access to the most advanced, fiber-rich network in the nation. In addition to improving service and reliability, we believe you deserve the best possible customer service, which is why we’re bringing over 10,000 outsourced customer service jobs back to the United States.”
Rutledge said in his letter that though “Exciting changes are in the works,” “for the time being, your services will remain unchanged.”
Seriously, will any of this matter? The best statement I’ve found on that question comes from David VanAmburg, the managing director of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which gave Time Warner Cable abysmally low ratings.
“Nobody in the cable industry performs particularly well,” VanAmburg said in this May 17 Bloomberg News report on the merger. “One merger isn’t going to change structural issues with pricing, infrastructure and battles with content providers. When there’s not a great deal of competition in an industry, you’re not going to get great satisfaction scores.”
Rutledge wants you to go Spectrum.com/merger for more information, but do so at your own risk.
Photo: NBC/Wikimedia Commons