Patricia Gottesman, a veteran business development executive at Cablevision, is being tapped to run a new digital unit that aims to expand the cable company's already sizeable grasp of classified advertising and other marketing relationships.
Cablevision currently offers two services, "Optimum Home" and "Optimum Autos," which allow subscribers to scroll through screens of photos and text listings of houses and cars for sale. Cablevision also offers the same service online through its portal, www.optonline.net.
"Our intention is to bring it to the next level where fulfillment is involved and use our fiber optic capabilities," Ms. Gottesman said. "If we're able to leverage our platform and tools to turn an ad into a purchase, we'll be a bringing a strong service."
Initially, Cablevision is looking to focus on "impulse buys." The company is looking for products that can be purchased simply and don't involve wide choice -- shopping for groceries for instance isn't on the cards anytime soon -- though newspaper and magazine subscriptions and electronic devices might work. The company is talking to advertisers about partnership structures and how it might work with retailers and media companies.
Ms. Gottesman said that last year Cablevision took 600,000 orders through its systems for its video-on-demand products and it Optimum Online service. That the company was able to achieve those results without the assistance of promotion was proof to Cablevision that there is a market for purchases made through the TV interface. "We now believe we can open up the platform," she said.
Customers would not get charged on their cable bill, however, as they do for movies on demand. Instead, Cablevision would store consumers' credit card details.
Cablevision already offers advertisers their own branded VOD channels. Slim Fast, Sony Bravia and Unilever all have such channels.
Ms. Gottesman will head up the new unit, called the Digital Marketing & Commerce group, as exec VP-digital marketing and commerce, and will report to the company's chief operating officer, Tom Rutledge.
Also joining the new team are Dermot McCormack, senior VP-interactive advertising and development; Barry Frey, senior VP-advanced platform sales; and Ben Tatta, senior VP-new business development.