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High-def headaches

Can creativity help Voom rise into the black?

Talk about a thankless job.

Cablevision’s troubled Voom satellite TV division is seeking a chief marketing officer, according to a want ad in last week’s Wall Street Journal.

“Must be creative,” the ad specifies.

But it may take more than creativity to keep editors from the cute pairing of “Voom” with “doom” in headlines.

Even more creativity will be required to persuade people to pay $499 for a Voom receiver and $49.90 a month for channels that many can already get from their local cable operator.

Launched at the beginning of the year by cable pioneer Charles Dolan, Voom bills itself rightfully as the first all high-def pay TV service.

But nearly a year in, Voom has done little but burn through cash. Voom ended Q3 with 26,000 subs, 1,000 more than the previous quarter. DirecTV and Dish Network added close to 800,000 subs in the same period.

Voom is set to be spun off from Cablevision into Rainbow Media Enterprises, with AMC, IFC and Women’s Entertainment. But it’s hard to find anyone outside the Dolan family or immediate employees that doesn’t believe the satcaster should be shut down.

“Management needs to put an end to the Voom money pit,” says Fulcrum Global Partners analyst Richard Greenfield, who famously opined when the Voom sat was launched that Cablevision would be best served if it blew up on the launchpad.

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