Enhancing the Hispanic Bundle Options

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New York— Reflective of the many segments within the overall Spanish-speaking community, cable companies continue to try various marketing and pricing approaches to reach out to this highly diversified group.

Joe Rooney, senior vice president of marketing at Cox Communications Inc., speaking on a panel last Tuesday at the Horowitz & Associates’s 5th annual Forum: State of Cable and Broadband here, said when it comes to marketing to Latinos, “it’s not one-size-fits-all.”

So Cox offers various bundles of video, high-speed Internet and voice offerings. The MSO is also selling a value-priced data package, proffering less speed and aimed at “unassimilated” Latinos with budgetary constraints.

TAILORED MINUTES

As part of the telephony pitch to Latinos, Cox is now trying to be “really relevant to these customers” by offering “minutes to their country of origin. We’re taking a run at the calling-card business.”

Rooney said Cox has been working successfully with Univision since last September, running ads touting Spanish-language packages, including Univision-owned cable network Galavision. Reaching 94% of Hispanics households in the U.S., Univision is clearly an important vehicle to reach this group.

But Cox’s acquisition efforts marked the first time the broadcaster had permitted such messaging. Viewers dial up a toll-free number and talk with Spanish-speaking or bilingual CSRs.

And Cox deploys Hispanic installers and can bill or communicate in the language through its Web site.

Rooney also continues to aim at Hispanic households through such tactics as direct mail and grassroots initiatives, including having a presence at some 85 events this year.

Bob Watson, vice president of programming and new business development for Time Warner Cable New York City, discussed having a presence at some 120 street fairs in the Big Apple through October. Opportunities to demonstrate product is important in neighborhoods, he said.

Retail presences are also vital, and Time Warner works with national chains like Best Buy Stores Inc., plus showcases HDTV and high-speed offerings to Hispanics and other consumers at regional outlets like P.C. Richard & Son.

Watson said Time Warner continues to look at more opportunities to broaden its “DTV en Español” package, particularly by adding programming that appeals to the large number of people in the market who trace their ancestry to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

BROADENING VOD

Later this year, Watson said the system hopes to offer a wider swath of on-demand movies aimed at Hispanics and other ethnic groups.

All customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens currently pull down a total of 17 million on-demand video streams a month, Watson said. “We’re looking to re-architecture the system to increase bandwidth. Maybe within six months, we can offer more in-language movies on VOD,” he said.

Jeff Valdez, chairman of Sì TV, the English-language Latino network that also aims at young-adult urban viewers, sees more opportunities with VOD, following a recent three-month test with Time Warner Cable Los Angeles in which the service ranked ninth out of 32 in terms of usage. Valdez said Sì TV was accelerating plans for a national VOD strategy as a means to stoke awareness and viewership for the service.

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