Comprehending Layer3 TV takes a minute. Are they a cable provider? Yes—but that doesn’t mean they’re looking to be the next Comcast. The next Apple? Now that sounds more like it. But it’s more than just a breadth of technology that Layer3 is relying on to set it apart—it’s a true and undeniable focus on the customer. “Consumers love cable, they just don’t love their cable providers,” says company co-founder and CEO Jeff Binder.
A focus on the customer is arguably Layer3’s secret weapon. Customers can tweet them or text them any time of the day. Customers can Facebook them, schedule a call-back or have a chat session on Layer3’s care portal. Binder used a recent Facebook Live video from the Aspen Ideas Festival to announce the company’s upcoming expansion into NYC.
After years of quietly working behind the scenes, Layer3 took off the cloak last September with an initial launch in Chicago. Soon after, it brought the service to the DC area, L.A., Denver and Dallas. From Day One, it’s been visibly different. Technicians show up in Teslas and BMW i3s, instead of the traditional cable truck. That visual difference can also be seen on TV, with the operator offering a robust palette of 4K/Ultra HD fare, both live and on demand. And of course, management hopes its different stripes can be seen in the overall customer experience.
Layer3’s mantra is to give customers choices. The Comcast X1 platform may be a great experience, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only option to provide an innovative user interface. “There are other great services out there as well,” says Binder. An ability to connect to the Internet of Things, to engage with social media in an integrated viewing context and a broad availability of content that other providers can’t match all give customers choices on what and how they choose to experience content. “That, I think, is what sets us apart. We’re focused on giving consumers what they want, not what we want to give them.”
As it takes on the big MVPDs, there is a wide bench of experience to turn to, with numerous industry veterans having jumped aboard. “I think that these are a bunch of folks that are really, really good at what they do and they wanted to take advantage of a platform that will allow them to do the things in a way that customers will really appreciate,” Binder says.
In addition to Binder, who was the founding CEO of Broadbus, Layer3 counts former Comcast CTO Dave Fellows as CTO and co-founder. Others on the leadership team hail from companies like Google, CNN, Fox, Comcast, Motorola, Time Warner, Cablevision and Microsoft. One of those recent additions is long-time Cox Communications exec Joe Rooney, who joined the company in May as CMO. “It’s about the team fi rst. I was impressed by the people who were involved with the company from the top notch investors to the leadership team to the incredible people already in the marketing team,” Rooney tells us. “Then I started playing with the product and immediately saw how Layer3 TV could transform living rooms. I had just moved to Denver and wasn’t looking to start working again, but this opportunity got me too excited to say no.”
Ultimately, Layer3 was born out of a void in the industry. “We felt that there was an unmet need for the 50 or 60 million American households that aren’t ever going to go to skinny bundles that love TV, that want better video quality, they want 4K, they want HDR,” says Binder. And of course, they want better customer service.
– Katie Nale