DirecTv Inc. wants to broaden its image beyond being known
as the leader in sports and movies, and it is hoping that pop- and country-music star
Shania Twain can help.
Saturday (Sept. 12), DirecTv was scheduled to broadcast an
exclusive, live Twain concert free-of-charge for its subscribers.
"Music allows us to differentiate ourselves from our
competitors," said Susan Collins, the direct-broadcast satellite service's vice
president of consumer marketing.
But DirecTv didn't host the event just as a gesture
for its current subscribers: The company also created a number of marketing partnerships
surrounding the concert to help drum up interest in the DBS service from nonsubscribers
and from other musical artists.
Best Buy promoted the concert with Twain cardboard standees
in the music-software departments at more than 300 of its stores, said Rich Goldberg, vice
president of programming acquisitions for DirecTv.
The standees were designed to target music fans who may not
normally venture beyond the compact-disc section, and to direct them back to the Digital
Satellite System display.
As part of the promotion, Best Buy offered a special CD
sampler and $100 in coupons to anyone who bought a new DSS and subscribed to DirecTv.
DirecTv director of programming acquisitions Matt Hanover
marveled at how quickly Best Buy was able to mobilize the point-of-purchase materials
throughout the chain. "They moved mountains," Hanover said. "They usually
need four months to turn this kind of thing around."
The copromotion was designed to help sell CDs as much as
DBS hardware. If top musical artists discover that doing a concert on DirecTv can help to
boost their own sales, they might be more willing to sign exclusive deals of their own.
"It's these marketing tie-ins that give us an
edge over other broadcast networks, like HBO [Home Box Office]," Goldberg said.
To help create even more of a buzz for the Twain concert,
DirecTv partnered with Westwood One and Mercury Records to rebroadcast the concert over
pop and country radio stations.
And in advance of the concert, a number of radio stations
held contests, awarding tickets to private screenings of the DirecTv concert in local bars
and restaurants. DirecTv sent each of those locations a "Party in a Box,"
complete with Twain T-shirts, calendars, posters and tour jackets.
And the company paid to have DSS equipment installed in
those locations that were not already equipped.
Sports bars around the country have become big fans of
DirecTv for its out-of-market sports packages. Some have even put neon signs in their
windows reading, "DirecTv on Tap."
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