Businesses must have a presence in Social Media

Something that has come to a head in our family this weekend is trying to get answers out of our pay tv provider, which got me thinking more about how businesses need to have a presence in the Social Media world in order to converse with clients, and when they do have a presence to actually use it as more than just a press release!

The only reason we pay for TV.

The only reason that we pay for TV in our house is so that my husband can watch the MotoGP and SBK races live in HD. We are paying almost NZ$100 per month for this, tomorrow morning my husband should be able to watch the first MotoGP race of the season. Unfortunately this won’t be happening…. why? Our pay TV provider (and there is only one to choose from in our little country) can’t reach an agreement with Dorna the owners of the GP. 

Here is where Social Media is coming to a head for this provider of pay TV. 

There are many threads started on the a fore mentioned forum that my husband frequents, slandering the provider. So many people are upset over the lack of coverage for something that they believe they have the rights to as they pay for the service. Until today we had not reached a decision on our views as to who was holding this process up, we had noticed that our Aussie neighbors on Thursday didn’t have an agreement either so thought we would be ok, and that maybe it was the owner that was holding out for too much $$$. However this morning we noticed that our country’s name is missing from the list of countries with broadcast coverage on the MotoGP website….. and the press release made by Dorna today has even listed cruise ships as an option for watching the races while you were travelling….. but not us…… 

This got me thinking that maybe it was our provider who didn’t want to pay too much for the coverage……

Being of the Social Media generation I immediately took to the providers Facebook page. What do you know? They have put a news release up for the fans of the GP saying that negotiations had stalled but they still hope to show the coverage….. what has ensued is comment after comment after comment from disgruntled customers. Noticeably some comments about posts being removed by the provider…….. Obviously moderating the posts and what was said about themselves! – Which is their right, especially if there is objectionable language or the like in the post. But it is making their customers upset…..

One post however got me thinking. One unhappy customer commented that he had cancelled his subscription (like many others) and that he had started a new group who would do the same if the provider didn’t come to an agreement with Dorna. This group supposedly has 900 members. Now this doesn’t seem like heaps, but when you think about it, these members are probably going to be spending about the same as we are, so over a year, this is over $1 million in lost revenue for the provider. Now this is only this mans little group, imagine if out of their estimated 1.6 million subscribers they lost 100,000 of them due to this lack of coverage – I don’t think this is overestimating the figure either. That would be almost $120 million loss in revenue.  That is not something to sneeze at! Needless to say I think that their profit (as posted on their website) last year of $122 million means that they can afford to make a deal on this coverage to make their clients happy.

What my Pay TV provider needs to learn…..

“What do you think they need to learn, Rebecca?” I here you ask. I think they need to learn to be more open with their clients. They also needed to have a staff member man their Facebook page over the weekend to diffuse the HUGE amount of flack they are getting on their page from unhappy customers.. many of whom have already cancelled subscriptions because there will be no coverage. There is no point having a Facebook page, making a press release and then not responding to their customers! Social Media is about interactions and relationships between people. It is not a one way dictatorship. 

With the advent of live streaming these customers don’t need the provider anymore, for NZ$151 they can get a full access pass to the full coverage over the internet for the WHOLE season, plus all the videos from previous seasons….. This compared to $1,200 for a year when we really only watch the free channels except when watching the bike racing is really making me feel like we won’t be hanging onto our subscription for much longer either!  The only reason why we are hanging on at the moment is because the SBK has coverage, (same owner by the way… so why an agreement can be made for that and not the GP I can’t figure out) and if they do manage to sort the coverage out for the GP it will be in HD, and to be honest our streaming internet in this country is pretty pitiful, so it would be jumpy and not great to watch streamed anyway. So our preference, even though more expensive overall is to stick with our provider…. however we will be reviewing that over the coming weeks depending on the developments.

What can I take away from this?

What can I learn from this situation? I think it really brings home the 4C’s concept that we have been looking at during our readings for my class. Author Niall Cook in his book about how social software will change the future of work discusses that there are four primary functions of Social Media. 

Communication, Cooperation, Collaboration and Connection. 

Social media for businesses is supposed to make a way for us to communicate with our customers, its a way for businesses to cooperate with each other and in my case by using creative commons be able to promote my company better, in the sense of collaboration I am able to read others blogs and articles on how they made their companies better, but most important at all Social Media creates a connection between people. 

I say most important and I think that it honestly is the most import aspect, I also think this is where my pay provider has really let the ball down, they have communicated with their customers, but they aren’t maintaining a connection by answering their customers directly on this issue which has now escalated into something more than it needed to be. 


Fingers crossed however that we still get to watch some racing this week! 




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