Time Warner Cable is starting to get more aggressive about wooing customers of rival pay-TV services to change providers if they want to see Dodger games.
"Switch today and never miss a game," says a recent advertisement from the cable company, which is handling distribution for the Dodger-owned channel SportsNet LA. If watching the Dodgers is not enough of an enticement, Time Warner Cable is also offering a $300 Visa Reward Card.
Until recently, Time Warner Cable steered clear of advertisements trying to convince people to switch to its service. It did not want to unnecessarily antagonize companies with which it was trying to negotiate.
However, with the baseball season almost a month old and no deals with other area distributors close, Time Warner Cable is amping up its marketing efforts.
On a call with analysts earlier this week to discuss its first-quarter results, Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Rob Marcus said the company has been adding subscribers in the Los Angeles market, but he declined to provide actual numbers.
Although the "Switch today and never miss a game" ad does not mention satellite broadcaster DirecTV, that's the company whose subscribers TWC is aiming at. Subscribers to Charter and Cox can't switch to TWC. But DirecTV subscribers in TWC service areas can change providers.
Other distributors have also offered perks to their subscribers to make up for not carrying the Dodgers, including free HBO and Showtime for a couple of months.
Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are in talks, but no deal appears to be on the horizon. DirecTV is balking at the price Time Warner Cable is seeing for SportsNet LA. Other distributors are also playing hardball because as long as DirecTV, which is available to anyone, isn't carrying it, they don't have to worry about losing customers.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.
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