Century Communications Corp. and Comedy Central teamed up
recently to give targeted subscribers a cobranded computer screen-saver.
The specially designed premium was created to aid Century's
customer-retention efforts and to drive appointment viewing to Comedy Central.
According to Rebecca DiPanni, basic-product manager at
Century, the campaign serves as a test for what could be many micro-targeted promotions in
"You can't be all things to all people," DiPanni
said. "As the number of networks increases, cutting through the clutter isn't good
enough -- you have to cut through the clutter on target."
Comedy Central targeted more than 1,500 Century subscribers
who had visited the network's Web site and registered for an online game. The two
companies sent e-mails to those targeted subscribers containing the Internet address where
they could download the screen-saver software.
With its dancing South Park characters and Century's
digital spokeswoman, "Wendy Wire," featured prominently, the interactive
screen-saver acts as a constant reminder of Comedy Central and Century, said Steve Males,
Comedy's vice president of affiliate marketing.
And when the screen-saver's computer is connected to the
Internet, it is automatically updated with timely information on Comedy Central's
programming lineup, along with modules featuring South Park, The Daily Show with
Jon Stewart and Win Ben Stein's Money.
Within days of the e-mail test, Century and Comedy Central
had already received thank-you replies via e-mail. After the test plays out, both
companies will offer a version of the screen-saver to additional subscribers through their
own Web sites.
DiPanni said the MSO has also considered creating a CD-ROM
of the screen-saver if there's enough demand from customers who are unable to download the
software off the Internet.
Century has collected e-mail addresses from other
subscribers in a variety of ways, DiPanni said. But the operator wanted to offer Comedy
Central fans something that they were sure to appreciate.
"If this test is successful, we can do other
niche-targeted promotions," DiPanni said, adding, "I would always partner with
networks. Everything has to tie back to the programming, because that's the business we're
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