Cablevision Revives Round-Based Discount

Resurrecting an innovative pay-per-view marketing tactic from years past, Cablevision Systems Corp. will offer a discount to subscribers ordering the June 17 Oscar De La Hoya-"Sugar" Shane Mosley based on the number of rounds the fight goes.

Subscribers purchasing the $49.95 De La Hoya-Mosley fight will receive a $20 discount if the fight ends within three rounds, Cablevision vice president of PPV and enhanced-video products Sherry Brennan said.

The deal is similar to a price guarantee the MSO created for the two Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield fights in the mid-1990s. At that time, the price was $9.95 per round.

Cablevision had mixed results with the Tyson-Holyfield fights, which retailed nationally at $49.95 each. It profited in 1996 from the first fight, which Holyfield won in 11 rounds. The MSO didn't fare as well in 1997, when the match lasted three rounds.

While the two deals differ slightly, both were designed to drive fight buys and to provide a value-added incentive for Cablevision subscribers. "We try to do innovative pricing for events when we can," Brennan said. "It's a splashy fight, so we wanted to do something special."

Brennan wouldn't reveal how many buys the MSO needed to generate to be financially successful if the fight didn't last three rounds, but she said fight distributor TVKO offered no special deals. Even if Cablevision loses money, the promotion still has subscriber-relations value, she added.

The MSO will market the promotion through cross-channel spots, and will run a 30-minute preview show on Cablevision's Metro network the night of the fight, Brennan said.

She would not rule out the possibility of using the tactic for future fights. "We're always looking for ways to offer our customers value," she added.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.