obusinesses. The competitive landscape for Empire Access includes large cable companies, and offering both business and residential fiber, as a local provider, has helped them to grow their revenue. Live customer service support and quick response times have also given them an advantage over their competitors, whose customers normally wait just to get a call back from support. Fiber has given Empire the ability to provide digital voice, IPTV, internet up to a Gig and security monitoring.
Having the Biggest Pipe Is Key
VanDelinder says internet drives the boat for business and residential customers, so they actively promote themselves as the local company with the fastest internet. He goes on to say that this has been the biggest reason they have been successful against their competitors.
Wisconsin Telco Grows Their Video With a Focus on Time-Shifted Viewing
As one of the Video on Demand (VoD) pioneers in the rural telecom space starting back in 2010, Marquette-
Adams Telephone Cooperative in Oxford, Wis., has seen a lot of equipment
vendors come and go. According to CEO Jerry Schneider, things have stabi-
lized significantly on the equipment side, which makes it easier now than
when they started. Schneider added that the efficiencies they gained by hav-
ing their middleware and VoD software from a single vendor like Innovative
Systems has been very beneficial.
Marquette-Adams ingests VoD content from a variety of sources, including locally produced content, and on
average offers around 6,000 assets to their customers at any given time. With the sheer volume of content,
their customers have less reason to go off their video network to access additional content Over the Top (OTT).
All subscribers to the Marquette-Adams video service have free access to the VoD library, and Schneider says
their 2,700+ subscribers make an average of 3,000 VoD transactions per month. He says one thing service
providers don’t always realize about VoD is the fact that it enhances their subscription service, allowing cus-
tomers to quickly access a missed program in the VoD library. Local content from five different high schools
is also part of their VoD library, which is something that is not available from their Dish and Direc TV competitors.
VoD Monthly Cost Per Subscriber Is a Real Value
Schneider has calculated the net monthly cost of VoD to be around 45 cents per subscriber, and considering
what he pays for other channels, he considers it a good value. Schneider says they also serve as a VoD head-
end for numerous service providers, and this has allowed them to negotiate their monthly cost down to
around 20 cents per subscriber. Marquette-Adams promotes VoD in their marketing campaigns and collat-
eral. Schneider emphasizes that when they talk about their video product they always use the phrase “TV with
VoD.” He believes VoD has given them an edge and can back up that belief with consistent video subscriber
count growth of about 4% per year for the last seven years, in the same geographic footprint.
Back Office Savings Add to the Bottom Line
Using the Innovative Systems InnoStream™ hardware platform in Schneider’s opinion has reduced opera-
tional costs by its ability to perform many functions that would normally take different pieces of equipment
from multiple vendors. Marquette-Adams is currently using InnoStream™ for VoD, Restart TV, and Cloud DVR
(cDVR). Schneider adds that savings continue to grow as they are no longer purchasing DVR set-top boxes
(STBs) and will ultimately migrate everyone over to cDVR, which will save on both equipment (CAPEX) and
reduced service calls (OPEX) to replace DVR STB hard drive failures. Schneider says that if they diagnose a
hard drive failure on a DVR and if the STB is still working, they just switch them over to cloud DVR and avoid a
truck roll and paying for a DVR. It has positively impacted their video profitability.
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