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Time Warner Cable: 多网融合的全方位渠道服务平台
时间:2014-01-13 01:38:22  来源:  作者:胡慧

 

如果说康卡斯特(Comcast)是全美有线电视运营商中当之无愧的状元,那么时代华纳有线公司(Time Warner Cable)便是紧随其后的榜眼。通过有线网络系统,时代华纳有线向美国29个州的家庭用户、商业用户提供视频、高速数据和语音服务。2009年,时代华纳有线从母公司时代华纳剥离,专注于渠道建设,并逐步延伸自己的触角,将业务范围拓展至网络传输服务、IT外包服务和云服务等领域,致力于打造全方位的渠道服务平台。

时代华纳有线公司的发展历程

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依据时代华纳有线年报,公司2012年整体营业收入共计约214亿美元,较2011年增长8.7%。从服务类型来看,家庭服务是时代华纳有线最主要的营业收入来源,截止2013930日,时代华纳有线与1510万顾客维持客户关系,拥有1140万家庭视频订户,1110万家庭高速数据订户和480万家庭语音订户。但由于互联网的冲击,近年家庭订户逐渐流失,家庭服务的营业收入也增速放缓。在此形势下,商业服务收入却大幅增长,2012的增长率达到29.4%。从时代华纳有线的最新动态来看,商业服务也正是其重要发展方向。

2012年时代华纳有线公司营业收入

类别

百万美元

年增减%

家庭服务

18175

6.3

商业服务

1901

29.4

广告服务

1053

19.7

其他

257

10.3

总计

21386

8.7

 

 

专注渠道建设 提升服务质量

2009年,时代华纳剥离旗下专事渠道经营的美国在线与时代华纳有线公司,决心回归专业化内容生产领域。时代华纳有线向母公司一次性支付109亿美元股息红利,开始独立运营。在去除利息、税项、折旧及摊销之后,时代华纳有线还负担着240亿美元的债务。国外媒体这样评价此次剥离:“这是个关于一个年轻男子离家自立门户的故事,在离家之前,他必须先从银行取得贷款以报答父母。这样,他的家长会很高兴、很欣慰,但接下来他要为偿还这笔新贷款做出努力。”

事实上,时代华纳有线已于2007上市,早有自立门户的打算。虽然独立的代价不菲,但时代华纳有线因此拥有了更自由的发展空间、更简化的资本结构和更灵活的战略目标。既然专心做渠道,那么这名独立的年轻的男子必须利用一切资金、技术资源,来扩大渠道服务的用户规模,并优化服务的质量。

多元并购:扩大用户规模                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

对于传媒企业来说,并购不仅可以扩大媒体的市场规模,充分发掘规模经济的潜力,还能集中市场,提高进入市场的门槛,从而获得更大的收益。无论是从属于时代华纳时期,还是独立运营时期,时代华纳有线都通过多元化并购的方式来突出核心业务,并巩固自身优势。

20067月,时代华纳有线与Comcast达成协议,共同对已破产的美国第五大有线运营商Adelphia Communication进行资产收购。交易完成后,时代华纳有线共吸纳Adelphia旗下330万的用户,客户总数上升到1440万。除了划分Adelphia的股份和用户,时代华纳有线与Comcast还交换了彼此的一部分订户,以便巩固关键区域的业务、加强市场份额。这次大型并购,让两大巨头在有线电视领域的统治地位更加牢固,遥遥领先于其他有线电视运营商和大型卫星电视公司。

无独有偶,20122月,时代华纳有线收购美国第十大有线运营商Insight Communications,该公司向伊利诺伊州、印第安纳州等地的75万用户提供有线电视、高速互联网和电话服务。这一交易是时代华纳有线自2009年从时代华纳剥离之后,进行的首次大规模并购交易,旨在巩固其核心的有线业务。通过这次并购,时代华纳有线减少了电视频道的购买成本、降低了纳税开支,同时在其他运营成本上获得协同效应。

技术支持:优化商业服务

时代华纳有线的扩张过程同时也是与新技术不断融合的过程,利用新技术可以抢占市场竞争中最有利的地位,时代华纳有线对新技术一直保持着敏感和热情。早在2003年,为了支持其运营的VoIP业务,时代华纳有线便对其IP基础网络进行了改造,建立了一套基于思科设备的BLISS网络。近年来,由于商业服务成为其重要增长引擎,时代华纳有线通过多种方式为商业服务寻求技术支持。

首先体现在对云技术的掌控上。为了将商业宽带业务扩展到面向中小企业的网络托管服务,2011年,时代华纳有线以2.3亿美元收购云服务和网络托管服务供应商NaviSite。收购这家拥有1200多家客户的公司,能够让时代华纳有线掌控其提供的远程应用服务,从而让企业在无需将应用下载到本地电脑的情况下,通过互联网完成所要做工作。

其次体现在对高速宽带网络的开发。在视频业务低迷的情况下,时代华纳有线加入了推广高速宽带的阵营,进行相应的弥补。2012年,它斥资2500万元在纽约市建立起1Gbps高速光纤网络,满足那些对高速数据传输有需求的公司。而今年10月,时代华纳有线宣布收购光纤网络供应商DukeNet Communications,希望改进自己正在增长的光纤网络,同时大幅度提升商业服务,为大型数据中心、政府、企业和个人提供高容量带宽服务。

最后体现在对无线市场的重视。时代华纳有线着力发展无线回程线路服务,通过地下光缆进行移动通话和网络下载,为 AT&TVerizon等无线运营商解决网络拥堵问题。对新技术的开发及应用,为时代华纳有线提供了稳固的后台支持,同时有助于其优化商业服务这一热门服务。

 

    多网融合下的业务类型

除了基本的有线电视业务之外,时代华纳有线还以有线网络为平台,与多家ISP公司(互联网介入服务提供商)合作,向他们开放有线宽带网络,为公司用户提供多种多样的互联网服务选择,如Road RunnerAOLEarthLink等互联网接入服务,还为用户提供数字影音、VODVoIP、数字视频录制以及AOL TV等多种业务。从业务类型来看,基于有线网络的视频服务依然是时代华纳有线的主要营业收入来源,占营业总收入的57%,而高速数据服务、语音服务分别占营业收入的31%12%

 

2012年时代华纳有线公司主要业务收入占比

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视频服务:对多屏融合的不断探索

视频服务是时代华纳有线最基础、最传统的服务类型,早在1999年,时代华纳有线已经开始提供有线数字电视和视频点播服务。近年来,低廉或免费的互联网视频业务对传统有线电视运营商产生了巨大冲击,HuluRokuVuze等公司对其用户造成了巨大的分流。而电信运营商和卫星运营商的进入,让付费电视市场的竞争进入如火如荼的地步,有线电视运营商的视频业务逐渐低迷。在此背景下,时代华纳有线不得不积极探索多屏融合战略。

电视内容上网,构建付费墙

2009年,时代华纳有线与Comcast联合提出TV Everywhere(电视无处不在)理念­——如果用户已经通过有线、卫星或电话供应商支付了有线电视费,其所享受的各类视频内容将不再局限于电视机这一种方式,用户凭借用户名和密码,就可以通过PC、平板电脑、智能手机和互联网电视等终端来欣赏有线电视公司提供的视频内容。

这一商业模式可以与用户保持一致并增加用户黏性,从而避免用户取消订阅。其目的在于满足用户对于新媒体服务的需求,从而维持原有的用户。实质上,这是一种主动靠近互联网的商业模式,是传统媒体行业构建“付费墙”的一部分,包括报纸和杂志在内,多家媒体公司已经开始对数字内容进行收费,以应对新媒体平台的发展。

应用开发,完善终端布局

随着OTT产业的发展,流媒体机顶盒、智能电视迅速普及,以NetflixHulu为代表的互联网运营商、以DISH为代表的卫星电视都可以让电视机播放自家的视频内容,进一步抢占有线电视市场。时代华纳有线针对Roku机顶盒、微软Xbox360等设备开发了最新应用。以Roku机顶盒为例,通过机顶盒上安装的TWC TV,用户可以在连接Roku机顶盒的电视上观看实时和点播的电视节目。由于电视信号通过互联网进行传输,所以Roku机顶盒并不需要使用分线盒。有线电视和互联网已经开始使用同一通道,而时代华纳有线正在适当地分配这种通道,它之所以能够做到这一点,是因与CablevisionVerizon等一样,时代华纳有线既是有线电视运营商,也是互联网服务提供商。事实上,时代华纳有线在Roku机顶盒和其他设备上使用的信号是互联网专用部分,不会受其他网络流量的干扰,因此电视画面非常清晰。

此外,时代华纳有线还针对IOS系统、Android系统开发应用,通过移动终端收看有线电视频道成为可能。目前,苹果与时代华纳有线已经达成协议,允许其订阅用户通过苹果Apple TV收看有线电视频道。对终端的布局,在一定程度上有助于时代华纳有线挽救视频服务的颓势。

高速数据服务:战略发展重心

2013年第二财季,时代华纳有线流失16.9万视频用户,而上年同期流失13万,视频业务营收同比下滑1%,而宽带业务营收却同比增长7.2%。时代华纳有线转而从高速宽带服务中找到灵感,与视频业务相比,由宽带网络提供的高速数据服务是一项高利润率业务。因而在相当长的一段时间内,高速数据服务将是时代华纳有线的战略发展重心。

拓展高速移动上网业务

时代华纳有线已证明它可以在宽带领域进行竞争,与此同时,它也为进军无线市场打下了基础,大力发展高速移动上网业务。时代华纳有线曾投资5亿美元帮助Sprint NextelClearwire使用WiMAX 建设一个全国性的4G无线网络。该举措的第一个产品是售价34.95美元每月的高速移动上网业务,其网速可以达到6Mpbs,主要面向时代华纳有线现有的三网合一用户。这一名为Road Runner Mobile的业务将让时代华纳有线的用户具有移动高速上网能力,符合时代华纳有线在任何时间,任何地点,利用客户手中任何终端提供给客户任何想要的通信业务的目标。

与此同时,时代华纳还拥有相当数量的Spectrumco财团的部分无线频谱,该财团在2006年美国联邦通信委员会的先进无线频谱拍卖会上,竞标获得覆盖该国99%的无线频谱。这些都为时代华纳有线发展无线市场打下了良好的“地基”。

进军家庭安全防护领域

智能家庭服务是最近两年才兴起的服务,由于无线通讯设备零组件价格的下降,越来越多美国家庭用此类设备来提高住家安全。美国各大电信运营商和有线运营商不断涌入家庭安防市场,时代华纳有线也推出智能家庭行动设备,通过高速数据传输,提供家庭安全防护服务。

目前时代华纳公司已经在纽约、比卡罗莱纳州,南加州提供家庭安全管理服务。客户可以通过远程视频监控录像来观看家里的情况。这一切都可以通过智能手机、平板或电脑轻松实现。对于使用该服务的家庭,时代华纳有线会派专门的工作人员负责监视系统安装,用户只需要准备好一台能够联网的设备。

 

语音服务:数字电话的崛起与衰落

2002年,新兴的数字电话业务在美国通信市场上逐渐风行,有线电视运营商也纷纷开始试水VoIP。作为美国第二大有线电视运营商,20035月,时代华纳有线开始向客户提供基于有线电视网的电话服务,成为最早进入数字电话领域的有线电视运营商之一。当年12月,时代华纳有线宣布与MCISprint两家传统电信运营商合作,由它们为自己的VoIP服务提供相关的技术支持。2005年时代华纳有线的VoIP业务开始了“井喷式”的增长,第一季度的VoIP用户几乎以每周1万户的速度增加,至第二季度,时代华纳有线市场份额就达到了25%20063月底,时代华纳有线的VoIP用户达到140万户。

时代华纳有线的数字电话用户在交纳一定的包月费用后,就可以无限制地呼叫北美或全球的电话,同时可以享受各种标准的电话服务和呼叫紧急号码。作为网络电话,数字电话还为用户提供了很多具有网络特征的功能,诸如语音邮件、号码速拨、语音会议、匿名呼叫控制等。此外,时代华纳有线还利用有线电视接入提供视频、数据和话音等集成服务。

2006年完成了对Adelphia的收购后,时代华纳有线着力推动视频、高速数据与语音的“三合一服务”。但近年来,智能手机的普及大范围地抢夺了家庭数字电话的用户,2013年第一季度,时代华纳有线流失35000语音订户。因此,时代华纳决定放弃行业的长期惯例,不再积极向用户推广三网合一的业务包。当潜在用户咨询订购服务时,全部三种服务挂钩将不再是优先选项,时代华纳有线的客户代表将调查用户实际使用哪种服务类型,然后根据用户的兴趣追加销售增值服务。“捆绑销售”的“解绑”,体现出经营理念的适时调整。

 

优势内容强化渠道影响力

媒体的主要业务可以分为渠道和内容两类,渠道的竞争有利于扩大受众覆盖面,而内容上的竞争可以吸引受众的注意力,培养受众的忠诚度。虽然时代华纳有线专注于渠道建设,但是它积极地与内容方进行合作,利用优势内容来增强渠道的影响力。

时代华纳有线公司的服务类型

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依托时代华纳的强势内容品牌

订阅时代华纳有线视频服务的用户,能够收看300多个直播电视节目频道,包括AMCBravoComedy CentralCNN等。虽然独立运营,但时代华纳有线依然与母公司保持密切联系,依托母公司的强势内容资源,维持现有用户并吸引潜在用户。目前,时代华纳有线已经把时代华纳子公司特纳广播公司旗下的TNTTBS内容放到可供TV Everywhere用户观看的网站上,同时推出了TV Everywhere版的HBO频道HBO Go。时代华纳有线还与母公司达成合作协议,使HBO频道的所有观众都可以收看HBO Go

时代华纳有线自身也提供内容服务,旗下囊括数个新闻频道(如NY1YNNNews 14 Carolina)和多个体育网络(如Metro SportsTWCSNTWC Sports 32SNY),这些频道提供区域性或本地性的付费服务,并不覆盖全国。同时,时代华纳有线还向不同类型的顾客提供广告服务。2010年,Time Warner Cable Ad CastTime Warner Cable Ad SalesTime Warner Cable Media Sales等部门整合成为Time Warner Cable Media,统一管理和运营时代华纳有线的广告服务。从2012年的营收情况看,时代华纳的广告服务收入保持着稳步增长。

 

与内容方维持良好合作关系

与内容生产方维持良好合作关系,是有线电视运营商的必然选择。时代华纳有线与多家内容方紧密合作,签订合作条约。2012年,美式橄榄球联盟(NFL)与时代华纳有线签订播出合约,通过时代华纳有线的网络播放NFL有线频道的内容。201310月,卡塔尔半岛电视台美国频道也与时代华纳有线电视敲定交易,用户可以通过时代华纳有线电视收看到半岛电视台美国频道的节目。

除了与电视频道签订播出合约,时代华纳有线还采取了一个相对激进的措施——向媒体公司和制片方提供激励措施,促使他们不让自己的内容“上网”,通过支付更高的版权费保护其节目的价值,以减少用户的流失。时代华纳有线首席执行官Glenn Britt曾发表声明承认,他们与媒体公司的合同中有类似条款,“我们与媒体公司的合同中可能有禁止内容第一时间发布到互联网上的条款”。这一举措虽然表面上与TV Everywhere的理念背道而驰,但实质上却保持一致——为捍卫有线电视业务而做出的努力。

 

资料链接时代华纳有线的品牌传播

全方位的渠道服务和丰富的内容资源是时代华纳有线的品牌内涵,而营销传播活动则是提升其品牌形象的重要手段。时代华纳有线综合运用官方网站、FacebookTwitterYouTube、博客和论坛等媒介进行品牌传播,将企业的营销活动统一地传播给消费者及潜在消费者。时代华纳有线还展开关系营销和内部营销,在官方网站开辟专门的板块,与投资方、公司雇员保持亲密的互动关系。

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时代华纳有线公司新(左)旧(右)标志

独立运营后的时代华纳有线还重新调整了品牌标志,新标志去掉了原有标志的口号,明亮的浅绿色使图案显得更加清晰及自然,对眼与耳元素的沿用也延续了品牌识别。通过标志的更新,时代华纳有线希望传达“为消费者创新”的理念:观察并聆听消费者,通过创新的现代化手段,让消费者的生活变得更简单、更轻松。除了品牌标志的更换,时代华纳有线也对广告语进行了相应的调整,由原本的“The Power of You”转变为“Enjoy Better”,新的广告语强化了它的服务功能,时代华纳有线想告诉人们:自己不仅仅只是一家渠道供应商,还是一个为用户提供全方位优质服务的生活好伙伴。

 

 

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