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Charter Communications Offers ‘Bundle Lite’

Charter Communications is offering a triple-play bundle at a deep discount to the going rate of $99 per month, but there’s a catch.

The cable operator is test-marketing a bundle offering of video, voice and data for a dramatically discounted price of $69.97 per month. The catch is that the video portion of this bundled offering is a stripped-down version that the company calls “limited basic,” or the broadcast-video service.

Speaking at an investors’ conference Tuesday morning, Charter president and CEO Neil Smit explained that the offering is designed to “get the phones to ring,” giving the company an opportunity to upsell customers on advanced video services so that the final average revenue per user is close to that of a $99 bundle customer.

According to chief operating officer Mike Lovett, speaking at the same conference, the plan is working: “We have a very small number of customers who call in on this that actually end up with that package.”

The company saw a slowdown in revenue-generating-unit momentum in the third quarter, in part due to aggressive pricing practices by rival telephone-company and satellite-TV offerings. In response, Charter is testing more targeted marketing efforts of bundled offerings.