With apologies to Ad Age’s Bob Garfield, and his "Comcast Must Die" screed two years ago…
Imagine you purchased a plane ticket. You later board the aircraft. Instead of those comfy seats you’re used to, you see they have been replaced by broom handles. Technically you can sit on them, but you feel violated.
DirecTV has managed to pull this off, to somewhat the same effect. Earlier this month, with no advance notice, the satellite entertainment provider swapped out its music channels. In place of select stations from Sirius (a company that has a pretty good grasp on radio programming, even if it can’t make money at it), DirecTV inserted its own offering – Sonic Tap.
Some programs were replaced in kind (e.g., hits of the 60s was replaced by 60s hits), but many weren’t. The “fan” comments on DirecTV’s Facebook wall and in the forums on dslreports.com are 95% against the change. Tap this.
DirecTV might have had good reason to make the change. We know by its involvement with “Friday Night Lights” that it sees some sort of future in production. Perhaps it intends to spin Sonic Tap off and/or white label it to other satellite or cable providers. Or maybe the deal with Sirius was too expensive. But we don’t know because DirecTV hasn’t told us.
Making changes to expectations of EXISTING customers without alerting them is a shitty move, in any industry, always and forever. But what really bites in the case of DirecTV is its one-sided relationship with customers. You are committed to a contract, typically of two years’ duration. On top of that, if DirecTV sends you a replacement for a defective set-top box, it can deem that as a reason to reset the clock back to zero on your contract.
Like a broom handle.
Congratulations, DirecTV. You have taken the cable model of customer service to a whole ‘nother level.