Latin Marketing, VOD Were Hot Courses

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Boston -- Cable operators and programmers got tutored on hot-button industry
issues ranging from marketing to the Latin community and the pro and cons of
video-on-demand Sunday during the Cable & Telecommunications Association for
Marketing's master courses.

Addressing the issue of how to target Hispanics, the demographic du
jour
, CTAM attendees learned how Cox Communications Inc. adjusted the
original Spanish-language package it created in Phoenix, where 25 percent of the
market is Latin.

During the course, 'Grow Your Cash Flow Through Proven Multicultural
Marketing,' Tony Maldonado, Cox's vice president of marketing in Phoenix,
described how his system's original package to Latins was $48 -- pricey for an
ethnic group that largely didn't have cable in the first place. That package
included 14 Spanish-language networks, digital and expanded basic.

Cox stripped down the package to include only a digital set-top, the Spanish
networks and broadcast basic, bypassing expanded basic and, thereby, cutting the
offering's price to $28.40. That effort boosted Cox's success selling the
package to Hispanics.

Cox's strategy is to get Latin homes, which are multigenerational, to upgrade
over time and buy more cable services, including expanded basic, according to
Maldonado.

Early CTAM Summiteers jammed the session on 'Launching On-Demand Services,'
where Charter Communications Inc. executives Kathie O'Connor, director of
pay-per-view marketing and VOD, and Mitchell Miller, senior director of VOD,
described their MSO's experience with that offering.

O'Connor pointed out that VOD carries hefty costs for content, capital and
operations. 'Pay-per-view operates on a very slim margin,' she said. 'The margin
gets even slimmer with VOD.'

But, she noted, an investment-bank study has projected that the return on
investment on VOD is 58 percent within five to six years, matching the ROI for
high-speed data and telephony.

VOD is crucial to operators as 'a gateway to interactive services,' O'Connor
said. She suggested that MSOs place VOD on their program lineups as a channel,
making it easy for subscribers to access.

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