**UPDATE, Monday, Feb. 16, 2009** Darryl Ryan, Time Warner’s director of media relations wants to hear from customers. See, “Hey ‘anonymous cowards’ – Time Warner wants to hear from you“
Time Warner Cable’s Valentine’s Day 1-cent-movies promotion attracted three times more viewers than the company anticipated, creating a major nightmare for customers and Time Warner this weekend. As some readers who had planned to spend Saturday night at home discovered, many of the movies were unwatchable due to pixelation or the inability to access them.
“We totally exceeded the number by 3-times the amount. It was hugely successful. But a lot of people used it at peak times, which overloaded the system,” Darryl Ryan, the company’s director of media relations, said Sunday. “For any inconvenience we caused for customers, we do apologize.”
Customers who call Time Warner’s customer service, at 1-888-TWCABLE, can get one coupon good for a 1-cent movie-on-demand. But you must call in to get this. Ryan also pointed out that once purchased, the movies last for 24 hours. Movies that couldn’t play last night should still be available and working today. Also, subscribers can order movies today and watch them up to 24 hours later through Monday.
This, of course, may not be enough for some customers to forgive yet another strike against the cable company.
Several readers left comments (fixed link, thanks 10ACGirl) about the poor viewing experience. One reader, Shamrockmom, may have summed it up best: “Just a tip, TWC–Don’t promise what you can’t deliver!”
Ryan, with Time Warner, said that the issue was due to excessive demand in Orange County. The 1-cent promotion was only offered to Southern California subscribers in the Los Angeles and Orange County viewers. Other parts of the region had few complaints.
“This wasn’t a widespread problem. It just happened to affect readers in your area. This was limited to SoCal but it didn’t affect other parts of the region. It mainly affected people in Orange County,” Ryan said.
This doesn’t bode well for video on demand, which Time Warner has been offering to customers for years. While the ability to watch a movie or TV show whenever you want is appealing, the bad experience will likely turn off some customers forever.
“Brian in HB,” a reader who left a comment, said past on-demand experiences have been disappointing. “I have had problems with their system in the past and I haven’t used it since. This weekend just pointed out they still aren’t ready for primetime with the video on demand.”
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