On March 4, Rogers Communications announced a new lineup of Internet packages called Ignite. The move represents a series of strategic shifts for the company, which also owns Canadian Business. Online viewing of movies and television nearly quadrupled last year, one recent study suggests. Rogers responded to this trend by offering unlimited usage for most of the new packages, while streamlining the total number of packages that it offers. Ignite is also one of the first products to showcase a company-wide rebranding campaign.
We talked to Robert Goodman, senior director for Rogers Communications, about the new lineup and how consumer Internet usage is changing.
It seems like the biggest selling point to customers is that Ignite offers unlimited downloading. How is that different from the past?
These are new Internet products that we designed based on feedback from our customers, and looking at what our customers were doing online from a consumption perspective: streaming video, using multiple devices in their homes. And these new packages were meant to address these customers’ increasing desire for streaming video in their home. In the past we offered unlimited as an add-on. Now what we’ve done is we’ve said that for a segment of our customers, the base package needs to include unlimited. So the majority of our Ignite products are unlimited.
What are the kind of changes you’ve seen in in internet usage?
What we’ve seen is an explosion in Internet-delivered video. Customers are now consuming large quantities of web-based video. What that means is that usage grew last year by about 60%; we think in the next four years we’ll see a 400% increase. What we’re focused on is making sure our plans are meeting those new demands.
Rogers is also in the process of rolling out a refresh of its brand and trying to simplify its offerings. Can you talk a bit about the marketing thought that went into this?
Rogers Ignite is one of the first products to use the new branding. What the brand is all about and what these products are all about is improving our customer experience, taking that feedback from our customers. So unlimited usage is a great example of that feedback.
We are moving from approximately 17 products to five products with this launch. So simplification is something that we’re working on with this initiative. If existing customers want to stay on the products they have today, they’re more than welcome to do so, there’s no requirement to move to the new package.
What were the infrastructure upgrades required to enable this?
We continually invest in our network to deliver the speeds that our customers are demanding, especially now that they have multiple devices in the home all on the network. What that means is we need to deliver the speed that we say we deliver, so we also announced today that we have a Sam Knows certification that the speeds we offer are actually experienced by our customers, even during prime time when everyone is on the network. Sam Knows is an international third party that’s tested the speed of networks across the world on an independent basis. We put out a report today that we’re the only ISP in Canada to make that kind of transparent to our customers in terms of the speed that we’re delivering.
I can tell you that the real game-changer from a consumption perspective is video content. Specifically video streaming—everyone wanting to do their binge-viewing, that really has been the thing that has changed the trajectory of the usage on the network.