Cablevision Fuels Up

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In a bid to drive traffic to its Optimum Autos classified service, Cablevision Systems Corp. said it will give 1,000 gallons of gasoline to the winner of a promotion running through the end of June.

The MSO’s digital-cable customers can enter the sweepstakes by filling out an entry form with their remote controls on channel 605, or on the company’s Web site (www.optimumautos.com).

The promotion’s goal is to give Cablevision and its automobile advertisers sales leads.

Cablevision began marketing Optimum Autos in January, allowing subscribers to browse about 50,000 new and used cars for sale from more than 300 dealers in the New York area. The service can be accessed through the Web site and Cablevision’s iO: Interactive Optimum digital-cable platform.

Sweepstakes entrants, who must be legal residents of New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, are required to supply their full name, date of birth, mail address and primary e-mail address.

A random winner will be selected on July 1. Cablevision won’t actually deliver 1,000 gallons of gas to the winner. Instead, he or she will receive a credit card from a gas station that will allow the winner to get free gas at prices up to $4 per gallon, spokeswoman Marie Stenberg said.

Assuming that premium gas is selected, the winner would receive up to $2,480 in free fuel. That’s based on the current average price of $2.48 per gallon for premium gas in New York state — Cablevision’s service area — according to the American Automobile Association.

Courting customers with gasoline is a new endeavor for the cable sector. But with fuel prices reaching record highs, some grocery-store chains and other retailers have used promotional petrol in incentive programs.

Optimum Classifieds vice president Gary Schanman wasn’t available for comment last week.

In a prepared statement, though, he said that Cablevision expects the promotion will drive awareness for the company’s classified auto ad business.

“We’re kicking off the summer driving season with a fun and exciting promotion focused on those who love to drive, but have been dreading visits to the pump as the price of gasoline has increased,” Schanman added.

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