Verizon Communications is hoping to exploit the retransmission-consent standoff between Cablevision Systems and WABC-TV in New York, with a promotion offering customers in the MSO's territory a $75 gift card if they switch to a FiOS triple- or quad-play.
"Can't imagine a week without Lost?" reads a Verizon print ad, which began running in New York regional newspapers Friday. "Catch all your favorite shows on WABC7 with Verizon FiOS."
ABC on Monday threatened to pull the WABC-TV signal from Cablevision at 12:01 a.m. March 7 -- prior to the 82nd annual Academy Awards telecast -- unless the cable operator agrees to pay for the channel in a retransmission-consent dispute.
Verizon has "technicians and customer service reps standing by for customers who want to cut ties with Cablevision," said spokeswoman Heather Wilner. "We're arranging speedy installs and we'll do what it takes to create an easy, fast and seamless transition to the FiOS network."
The telco is offering customers who live in Cablevision ZIP codes a $75 Visa gift card if they take a FiOS triple- or quad-play. The ads direct consumers to a Web site, www.verizon.com/cutcable, with more information on the promotion and bundle offers.
So far, the direct-broadcast satellite players are not attempting to directly market against the New York retrans fight. DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said the satellite operator is "monitoring the situation," and Dish Network said it is currently not running any promotions aimed at the Cablevision-WABC dispute.
Verizon did not say which newspapers are carrying the ads but Wilner confirmed that they are not being placed in Cablevision-owned Newsday, The New York Times, the New York Post or the New York Daily News.
The $75 gift card offer is good for customers who sign up through March 14. The promotion is available to anyone in the Cablevision region.