Dwayne Hogan, a cable expert and TV blogger, says that cable companies have been reporting a steady decline in cable TV subscribers, and as a result, are willing to do whatever it takes to obtain customers.
In fact, the digital media research group, The Diffusion Group (TDG), predicts cable subscriptions will decline from a high of 100.9 million in 2011 to less than 95 million in 2017.
"Cable providers know this, and are working hard to stop the bleeding. This means they will go above and beyond to acquire new cable customers," says Hogan.
Ready to start reaping the benefits of new cable-dom? Keep reading to learn about four perks of being a new cable customer.
Perk #1: Up to 40 Percent Savings
You might think that the advertised price - or the first price given by a customer service representative - is the one you should pay. But Chris Wyatt, CEO and founder of Youtoo TV, says that's not always the case - especially for new cable customers.
"Most cable customers don't know that you can negotiate with your cable provider. Each customer is very valuable to the provider. The average lifetime value of each customer is approximately $3500, so consumers have more leverage than they might think."
Hogan agrees. He says that he's seen new customer rates that are close to 40 percent lower than the rates of existing customers.
Pro Tip: If you already have cable, calling your current cable company and telling them you're looking to move your service elsewhere might net you a deal, too. Wyatt says that cable companies' customer service reps are trained to offer discounts to customers looking to cancel their service.
And according to a May 2013 telecom survey by the Consumer Reports Research Center, Wyatt may be on to something. Just consider these findings, published in Consumer Reports' magazine:
"Among readers who changed TV providers in the previous six months, 18 percent were offered new savings of $20 or more a month by their old provider if they didn't switch to a new company or if they had switched but were open to coming back."
Perk #2: Even Cheaper Bundling Deals
When it comes to bundling your cable, Internet, and phone, you're generally going to get a lower rate. In fact, Hogan notes that customers who bundle save around $33 on their monthly bill.
"For cable providers, bundling is key," says Wyatt. "That's because cable is not their most lucrative business. Most cable companies generate more revenue from selling Internet and phone service. That's why they offer discounts to customers if they purchase a 'bundle' or package of services."
But how are new customers rewarded in the bundling game?
Wyatt notes that new customers can usually receive a better overall bundle offer. "New customers generally come from an existing provider and the competition to add new subscribers is the name of the cable company game," he adds.
Pro Tip: Wyatt says that while you may get a good deal, you should be aware that some bundles require a minimum one or two-year commitment. Be sure to check the fine print before you sign on to a new bundled plan!
Perk #3: Free Premium Channels, DVRs, Gift Cards, etc.
Free: It's a four letter word that we all love to hear. And as a new cable customer who's shopping providers, you'll hear it often.
Hogan says that cable companies often entice you to become a new customer by offering free channel upgrades, among other extras. And these extras are the things that can really make a difference in your cable experience, Wyatt notes.
Let's take a look at freebies that providers are currently offering to new customers*:
Verizon FiOS: With the "FiOS Triple Play" package (with a 2-year agreement) for $89.99/month, you'll also receive:
- FiOS Quantum speed upgrade
- $100 Visa prepaid card
- Multi-Room DVR free for 12 months
- Wireless router - at no extra cost
- offer ends 5/18/2013
AT&T U-verse: With the "TV, Internet & Phone" package for $79.99/month, you'll also receive:
- $150 reward card
- DVR included
- Add HBO or HBO/Cinemax and get it free for 3 months
- offer ends 7/27/2013
Pro Tip: New customers aren't coming in as steadily during the holiday season because they're focused on purchasing other consumer goods, says Hogan. So, you can use this time to score even more additional extras if you switch.
Perk #4: Better Signal Quality
If you're paying money for your cable, you want it to be the best of the best, right? However, Wyatt says that many customers aren't aware that all cable carrier's HD quality is not the same. And we'll fill you in on a little known secret: Different providers can compress signals that may affect your in-home signal quality.
That means that depending on the cable provider, new customers may see better signal quality thrown in as a perk for signing up.
Wyatt gives an example of this scenario at play in his own life:
"I recently changed my provider from a traditional cable provider to DIRECTV due to the signal quality. The difference is night and day. Now, I get true 1080p and 720p, which are the highest quality HD video signals available. I wouldn't have gotten an upgrade in quality had I stayed an existing customer with my old cable company."
Pro Tip: According to Wyatt, Verizon FiOS, AT&T, and DIRECTV have the highest signal quality.
* Packages and offers available from the respective company's websites on April 18, 2013.