Comcast’s plan to buy out industry peer Time Warner Cable for $45 billion has already achieved one thing: damaging consumer perceptions about both cable companies and their services.
According to YouGov’s BrandIndex, consumer perceptions of Time Warner Cable have sunk to their lowest levels since last summer, when it was embroiled in an unseemly carriage dispute with CBS. Meanwhile, Comcast’s ranking has also taken a significant hit.
YouGov’s BrandIndex “buzz score” tracks daily perceptions of brands by surveying thousands of Americans, who are asked for negative or positive feedback. The score is on a scale of -100 to 100 (zero being equal positive and negative feedback).
The American cable industry is notoriously unpopular. But it’s worth noting that other providers have not suffered similar since hits to their brands since the blockbuster deal was announced (including Charter Communications, which was originally expected to buy Time Warner Cable, but missed out).
The proposed merger is also hurting perceptions about the quality of both companies services, and the willingness of existing customers to recommend them to others, YouGov said.
The deal still needs the blessing of regulators. Even though the two companies don’t compete with each other directly (their footprints are in different parts of America) some prominent economists, like Paul Krugman, have argued that the deal should be rejected. Wall Street figures, such as BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield, argue there is no reason why it shouldn’t go through.
The US Department of Justice will have the final say, but consumers appear to have made up their minds.