Optimum Lightpath, Cablevision Systems’ hard-charging commercial arm, has introduced a VOD offering unlikely to top any date-night list of things to watch. It could, however, gather its own niche audience among information technology (IT) business decision-makers in the tri-state New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area.

Channel 660 on the Cablevision’s interactive Optimum (iO) digital lineup is a somewhat off-the-wall effort to attract more customers to Optimum Lightpath’s service by spreading the good news on Metro Ethernet.

“The channel is intended to be educational,” said David Strauss, VP of marketing for Optimum Lightpath. “(It) gives them the opportunity to learn first and foremost about Metro Ethernet.”

Potential customers and interested parties can also experience the “metro Ethernet now” channel by clicking on the bottom left corner of Optimum’s Web page. Note also that while offbeat, this use of the VOD platform tracks with the kind of educational VOD offering that Cablevision subsidiary Rainbow Media is now offering. (See related story.) MEF mantra and customers The core of the channel’s 75 minutes of information and brand promotion falls under the “Ethernet Education” menu header, which includes the following six subheads: Metro Ethernet Basics, The Optimum Lightpath Difference, Metro Ethernet Economics 101, Network Heal Thyself, Making the Switch and Choosing a Provider.

The channel’s home page also features the award that Optimum received last year from the Metro Ethernet Forum for Outstanding Innovation. (Optimum was one of MEF’s two Service Provider of the Year award recipients, Verizonbusiness being the other.) The channel also turns to MEF President and Strix Systems executive Nan Chen in the “Choosing a Provider” segment.

Chen runs through the five-point mantra of how Ethernet has turned into a carrier-class play by incorporating technologies and specifications that enable standardized services, scalability, service management, reliability and quality of service.

Compared to a classic infomercial, channel 660 is a relatively soft sell. A viewer can, but is not forced to, check out customer testimonials, in this case from a travel agency, a business continuity and disaster recovery services provider, and a minor league baseball team. The call to action is a user-friendly.

“What pops up … is pre-populated with (Cablevision iO) customer data,” Strauss says of the request for information page. A keypad (then) appears on the screen that enables the customer to re-enter company-specific data and switch out the address.

Strauss also said that the content would be refreshed, and based on a recent Optimum press release, it would look as if future segments could feature the health care vertical. That announcement, from Feb. 13, said that more than 15 health care providers in the Optimum market had opted for its Metro Ethernet service.

Other cable operators should take note of the study from Insight Research Corp. referenced in that release. The study covers a range of vertical markets, but projects in particular a 5.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2006 to 2011 in the healthcare industry’s demand for IT and telecommunications services; namely, from $6.3 billion to $8.1 billion.

For more on how Optimum is adopting Metro Ethernet and tackling other verticals, see our interview on CT‘s Web site with Optimum GM David Pistacchio; and for a more recent look at how Cox Communications is serving the hospitality industry in Las Vegas, see our interview with Cox Business Services VP Technology John Fountain. Jonathan Tombes and Jim Barthold

The Daily


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