Charter Uses Web to Promote HDTV

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As part of an ongoing strategy of using the Web to promote its products, Charter Communications recently completed an innovative Father’s Day contest to promote its high-definition services with a blogging contest.

As part of the contest, Charter asked people to post reasons they deserved to win a HD TV and year’s free subscription to the Charter Bundle with HD services for Father’s Day, said Barbara Hedges, Charter senior vice president of consumer marketing.

In the run-up to Father’s Day, the contest’s microsite, www.charter.com/hddad, had more than 100,000 views and Charter customers posted over 11,000 essays.

The contest is one of the highest profile attempts by an MSO to date to use its home page to promote its HD offering and it illustrates how the penetration rates for high-speed data products are providing MSOs with an increasingly effective tool for marketing all their various video, voice and data products.

“The large response shows that there is a great interest among our consumers in engaging with our products in the online space and that HD is a hot topic among our customer base,” Hedges explained.

Hedges said the MSO had made several recent forays into the social networking and blogsphere to see how it might “engage out customers with charter products in that space.”

In March, for example, the marketing department auctioned off a subscription to Charter’s high speed data product for life. The microsite for that effort got over half a million views, a much higher than expected response.

“We wanted to build on that by doing something in this space with our HD product that would help us build HD awareness in that space,” Hedges said. Ultimately, they developed an idea to set up a blogging contest to “give the world’s greatest HD service to the world’s greatest dad.”

Abe Manogue, a leukemia survivor, won the 65” HDTV set and a free year of the Charter Bundle based on an essay from his daughter. “My dad worked really hard through three years of sickening chemotherapy,” the daughter wrote. “Before he was really able to, my Dad acquired a job to better support his family and voluntarily got off disability. When he comes home at night, tired from his long day, he really enjoys watching TV.”

Four finalists also won a free year of the Charter Bundle with the HD service.

Because the response was so large, Charter added an honorable mention category and provided more than a dozen other winners with prizes that ranged from an HDTV set to free Charter HD services, Hedges said.

The contest was promoted on social networking sites and with an e-mail blast to Charter subscribers. The MSO also bought some banner ads and did some more traditional promotions with cross channel spots and fliers, Hedges said.

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