Insight Borrows Triple-Play Concept

Competition from satellite-TV providers drove basic-subscriber losses in the fourth quarter at Insight Communications Co., but the small-market MSO hopes to reverse that trend through innovative packaging, including a triple-play offering modeled after Cablevision Systems Corp.’s $90 three-product package.

Insight lost about 11,000 basic customers in the fourth quarter, mainly because of aggressive promotion by satellite in three markets that gained local-into-local service.

“We’re not proud. We’ll steal any good idea,” Insight CEO Michael Willner said in an interview.

Insight said it believes those were the last of the major local-into-local launches in its markets: 95% of Insight territories have local-into-local service from at least one and 90% have service from both satellite companies.

Insight’s triple-play video, voice and data offering will be slightly different from the Cablevision offering.

Instead of having each of the three products priced at $29.95 per month, Insight will package them at $40, $30 and $20.

Also, unlike the Cablevision package, the video component in Insight’s promotion will be expanded basic, not digital. Customers that want digital video will have to pay an additional $5 per month.

“We think the value is built into the product with a low enough upcharge to digital that we think it will still be very attractive to customers,” said Willner.

“The beauty of this one is that the third service, whatever it is, is only an incremental $20. When people already have two services and they’re considering the third, $20 can become very competitive in any business we’re in, against a dish offer, against a [digital subscriber line] offer and certainly against an incumbent telephone company offer,” Willner said.

The three-product pricing is a one-year promotion available only to new customers. Insight will also offer a two-product bundle to existing subscribers for $60 per month ($30 for each product).