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iO Puts On Its Game Face

The New York-area cable operator — looking to
give subscribers a new reason to pay for cable-TV
service — last week launched an interactive gaming
platform with 17 titles,
available for no extra charge
to digital cable customers.
The new service supersedes
the MSO’s previous
subscription-based games

The service is provided
via ActiveVideo Networks’
TAG Games division. It
comprises an array of card,
puzzle, arcade and children’s
games, and Cablevision said it will add one
new game each month.

Customers can play games against other Cablevision
iO TV customers in a “house-to-house” mode,
an option that isn’t currently available from satellite
or telco TV competitors.

The new service replaces Cablevision’s previous
interactive games offerings, from providers including
PixelPlay and Zodiac Interactive, which had
been available in packages for $4.95 per month. Verizon’s
FiOS TV service, which competes in much
of Cablevision’s region, offers some free games, as
well as 24-hour rentals.

“We are always looking to differentiate and add
value to our products, and the addition of free
games for our iO TV customers serves both objectives,”
Cablevision senior vice president of product
management John Trierweiler said in a statement.

The move comes after Cablevision earlier this
month said subscribers’ cable TV bills in 2011
would rise an average of 2.9%.

The games-on-demand service, available on
channel 610, includes Bejeweled
, Diner Dash, Bob
the Builder
and Sudoku, plus
traditional card, word, trivia
and arcade games.

The other operator that
currently offers the TAG
games is Time Warner Cable
Oceanic in Hawaii. In 2009,
Aloha State subscribers spent
an average of 116.5 minutes
per day on the games-ondemand
channel, according to set-top box data
measured by Kantar Media.

ActiveVideo completed the acquisition of TAG Networks,
which had about 30 employees, last May.

Cablevision offers
other features
through ActiveVideo’s
“cloud-based” interactive
TV system, including
grouped channel mosaics
that display up
to nine networks at a
time, News 12 Interactive
and advertising