NEWARK, NJ: Verizon New Jersey is pursuing strong community outreach about how its new television services will be differentiated from existing providers after the company successfully lobbied for a law allowing for construction of a fiber network connecting directly to NJ customers.
The company announced a $1.5 billion investment on August 8, after NJ Governor John Corzine signed the law on August 4 that would allow Verizon to provide cable television services, along with its traditional Internet and telephone offerings. The legislation also increased the franchise fee that municipalities would receive from consumers via the cable companies from 2% to 4%.
According to Eric Rabe, VP of media relations for Verizon, value and its new technology are the main messages Verizon is trying to convey to consumers, citing its success in nine other states, as a plus for cable subscribers. Verizon has put a PR campaign into effect since the signing of the legislation that includes media activity, community events, and tours for the media of its high-tech video center in Freehold, NJ, as well as searches for customers who have had a positive experience with the company.
Verizon has approached local marketing through print media and direct mailers to get the word out, as well as TV commercials that simply state that Verizon is different from the competition.
The wireless giant worked with NJ-based firm Winning Strategies (WS) to conduct research prior to the approval of legislation. The firm also worked to create groundswell for the legislation by directing consumers to www.tvchoicenj.com and urging residents to contact mayors and city officials.
Opposition to the new legislation was strong, as both the New Jersey Cable Telecommunications Association (NJCTA) and Comcast had spoken out against it, and now Comcast has been reaching out to customers individually to spread the message that it already has the technology Verizon is currently working on, according to Patrick McElroy, a spokesman for Comcast.