Several cable MSOs see business services as the next great growth driver, which could mean plenty of new B2B initiatives in ’07. CVC‘s Optimum Lightpath will launch this week a linear/online VOD channel to educate medium/enterprise firms on Metro Ethernet technology and its benefits. Along with 75 minutes of content that includes client testimonials, the channel provides sales and service links. "This provides a way to talk to business firms in an uncluttered way," said Optimum Lightpath vp, marketing David Strauss. "We are optimistic about this proposition… and over the next month, we will bake it into the fabric of our overall marketing [thrust]." Enormous potential exists for cable ops across all businesses, said Strauss, because of new technologies that increase commercial efficiency and because telcos now concentrate heavily on larger firms. Cox, Time Warner Cable and Comcast all plan to hit industry soft spots this year with business phone roll outs, primarily to SMBs. Time Warner, which counts 245K business customers, is now trialing such a product in Binghamton and Syracuse, NY, and plans a mid-late ’07 market launch. "In a lot of our markets, small and medium- sized businesses only have one choice for services," said a rep, citing school systems, healthcare systems and government agencies as points of emphasis. Comcast already rakes in $250mln annually from the business segment and estimates that 5mln SMBs inhabit its footprint. Cox Business Services, which receives 65% of its commerce from SMBs, places voice growth at the top of its ’07 priority list. Kristine Faulkner, vp, product development and management said the company experienced 21% rev growth last year. Stay tuned for a busy B2B year in cable.

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