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Cablevision Feels the FiOS Heat

Welcome to the cable news roundup, Hump Day edition.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) could be treading dangerously close to "destroying the marginal economics" of its business as the MSO continues to face-off with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS and tries out some aggressive strategies to spark subscriber growth, ISI Group Inc. analyst Vijay Jayant said in a note issued Tuesday. He cites an MSO promotion good through the end of January that offers new subs a triple-play package for US$69.95 per month that's good for a two-year stretch with no contract commitment requirement. That sharply undercuts Verizon's $79.95 per month triple-play promo. Verizon, which overlaps about 40 percent of Cablevision's Northeast territory, isn't expected to increase video pricing in 2012, though company CFO Fran Shammo on Tuesday left the door open to possible FiOS price hikes later this year. But if Verizon ends up staying put on pricing, it will likely force Cablevision to do the same, Jayant added.

  • Cablevision's promo for early 2012 comes after Verizon added 194,000 FiOS TV and 201,000 FiOS Internet customers in the fourth quarter of 2011. But Verizon's legacy wireline businesses continue to suffer, losing 103,000 DSL subs and 382,000 voice lines in the period.

  • Canada's Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) has upgraded what it says are its two most popular high-speed Internet plans. The Express tier will now burst downstream speeds of 18 Mbit/s (versus 12 Mbit/s) alongside a monthly data allowance of 70GB (up from 60GB) before overage fees apply; the MSO's Extreme tier's downstream speeds are being raised to 28 Mbit/s (versus 24 Mbit/s) with a monthly consumption cap of 120GB (up from 100GB). Rogers's high-end Ultimate tier maxes out at 50 Mbit/s downstream, 2 Mbit/s upstream, with a monthly usage allowance of 250GB.

  • Optimum Lightpath , Cablevision's enterprise services arm, has launched a bundle of conferencing services, including audio and Web conferencing, targeted to mid-sized businesses. The platform supports up to 300 audio-only or 125 Web and audio participants, and one-click conference recording.

  • Bermuda CableVision has tapped Avail-TVN as its primary video-on-demand (VoD) service partner, replacing In Demand LLC .

  • Time Warner Investments led a $12 million "B" round in Bluefin Labs Inc. , a TV analytics firm focused on data gathered from social media outlets that counts Fox Broadcasting Co. and Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) among its customers.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:44:36 PM
    re: Cablevision Feels the FiOS Heat

    After reading your first item, it's easy to see why Cablevision is not participating in the co-marketing deal with Verizon that several of its cable brethren have joined in on. Guess that won't be changing any time soon.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:44:35 PM
    re: Cablevision Feels the FiOS Heat

    Right, Cablevision and Verizon have a pretty nasty history, including some lawsuits that are still ongoing, so even if VZ Wireless is techincally a separate company because it's partly owned by Vodafone, I'd be very surprised if Cablevision decided to join the party with Comcast, Bright House, Cox and TW Cable. From some earlier Cablevision filings, it looked like they were eager to work with T-mobile before ATT tried to swoop in and buy it.  But now that that deal is dead, maybe all options are on the table again, though I imagine Cablevision will want to know T-mob's long-term fate before it commits to anything. Meanwhile, it's got a nice Wi-Fi thing going. JB

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