ESPN, Mid-Hudson Team for Broadband Promo


There is plenty of room for growth in the cable-modem business as Mid-Hudson Cable and ESPN found out during a summer promotion built around ESPN's X Games.

The two companies teamed up for a marketing campaign during which Mid-Hudson more than doubled its run rate for cable-modem subscriptions. The MSO added 223 subscribers during the five-week campaign, a 133% jump compared to normal.

Overall, the campaign gave Mid-Hudson a 7% lift in overall high-speed subscribers.

"We have been trying to roll out our broadband services as rapidly as possible and this made an awful lot of sense for us," said Mid-Hudson Cable president James Reynolds. The MSO counts 3,500 high-speed subscribers among its 20,000 basic customers.

Adding content to the high-speed platform "is a very important part of the product offering," Reynolds said. "Early adopters want the speed aspect of it. But with home networking and the broader deployments within the homes, we ultimately will want to provide additional content to the consumers.

"The campaign was very successful and encouraged us to push forward with additional marketing campaigns," Reynolds added.

There's been an uptick in MSO interest in conducting modem promotions with ESPN Broadband, noted ESPN vice president of national accounts for affiliate sales and marketing David Preschlack.

"Customers are realizing the power of branded content," he said. "Conversations have gone very well. We have done a deal with [overbuilder] RCN [Corp.] … We're having a tremendous amount of success with smaller operators."

With Mid-Hudson, the campaign, highlighting August's Summer X Games in Los Angeles, was built around a sweepstakes competition that ran from June 14 through July 25. The grand prize was a trip to the upcoming Winter X Games and a gift with purchase for the first 250 customers who signed up for broadband.

Kicking off with a June 14 Flag Day parade in Catskill and Hudson, N.Y., the campaign featured kiosks set up by ESPN Broadband for consumers to try out X Games high-speed content.

Mid-Hudson had promotional materials on hand explaining its offer: 30 days of free service, free installation, a gift with purchase and a chance to win a trip to the X Games. In addition to the parade, Mid-Hudson promoted the event through newspapers and cross-channel spots, with that media valued at $55,000.

ESPN distributed 3,000 ESPN Broadband bags, while Mid-Hudson passed out a similar number of offer sheets and entry forms.

Results were consistent with other promotions, Preschlack said. "The important number is the 133% increase over a comparable time period."