Time Warner Cable offers free Xbox to new triple play subscribers through Best Buy promotion

Holiday campaign includes free DVR rental and HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, The Movie Channel
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Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) said Tuesday that it will offer new subscribers who order its triple-play package at a Best Buy store a free Xbox 360 4GB gaming console.

It's one of the most aggressive subscriber acquisition campaigns yet from the nation's second largest cable MSO. In addition to offering new residential subscribers a free Xbox if they order a triple play by Jan. 5, Time Warner Cable said it'll offer subscribers a $150 Best Buy gift card and free access to a DVR and premium channels HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and The Movie Channel for one year.

While Time Warner Cable said it'll offer existing customers the gift card, free DVR and premium channels for one year if they order its $90 monthly triple-play, the MSO said the free Xbox is only available to new customers. The promotion could help it recruit subscribers from DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse TV and other rivals. Time Warner said it'll also offer a $500 Best Buy gift card to subscribers that order its high-end Signature Home service, which comes with a 50 Mbps wideband Internet connection.

The most unique aspect of the new promotion is the free Xbox. The Xbox 360 makes it easier for subscribers to buy movies and TV series online, which could impact Time Warner Cable's transactional VOD business and make it easier for customers to shave premium channels from their subscriptions. But putting more Xbox consoles in Time Warner Cable homes could eventually help the MSO reduce capital spending on cable set-tops since subscribers may be able to access its subscription video packages through the gaming console. Time Warner Cable already allows HBO subscribers with an Xbox to access HBO Go through the gaming console. And CEO Glenn Britt has said the MSO would support user interfaces developed by consumer electronics companies.

"If somebody wants to use the interface that comes with one device or another, that's fine. We're going to continue to have ours. If there's a better one--as long as they buy video from us--I don't care," Britt said on Time Warner Cable's second-quarter earnings call in August.

Time Warner Cable announced a similar promotion with Target in August, offering new triple-play subscribers a $150 Target gift card. But that promotion doesn't include a free Xbox 4GB, which retails for $199. 

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