Cablevision Fights FiOS With Moola

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Cablevision Systems, in a bid to add and retain subscribers in the second quarter, is offering new double-play Internet-and-phone and triple-play customers $200 cash back in the form of an American Express gift card through June 30.

The bounty from New York-area operator comes after Verizon Communications in April launched a $150 cash-back offer for customers who lock into the FiOS triple-play at $99 per month for two years. The Verizon promo is set to expire June 20.

Cablevision is featuring the limited-time cash-back offer on its Web site, and is offering Optimum Online and Optimum Voice for $29.95 per month each for 12 months.

In the first quarter, Cablevision reported a net loss of 6,300 basic-video subscribers, to end March with 3.102 million cable TV customers.

Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella said the MSO launched the $200 cash-back promo last month using both mass- and direct-marketing tactics. The offer is available across all of the operator's service area.

However, Cablevision is not delivering targeted TV spots for this promotion using the addressable-advertising system it is rolling out to 500,000 homes in its footprint, provided through New York-based Visible World. That system has the ability to deliver, for example, a triple-play upgrade offer to subscribers who currently take only cable TV service.

To receive the $200 American Express card, Cablevision customers must maintain Optimum Online and Optimum Voice service for four months. The card has some restrictions; for example, it's not redeemable for cash and cannot be used for cash withdrawal at ATMs, or for recurring billing charges including Cablevision bills.