Viewer's Choice and PolyGram Television announced
plans last week to join together this fall to promote PolyGram's three pay-per-view
releases: The Big Lebowski, The Borrowers and Barney's Great
Adventure: The Movie.
While all three movies performed sluggishly at the box
office -- $22 million for Borrowers, $17.4 million for Lebowski and $13.5
million for Barney -- both Viewer's Choice and PolyGram hope that their
marketing plan will boost awareness of the films and improve their performance on PPV.
The major part of the strategy is giving premiums and co-op
dollars to systems that participate in the promotion, said Sandy Grossman, director of
movie and event promotion for Viewer's Choice.
Operators have to take a variety of steps to quality for
the rewards, including: placing a newspaper or radio buy; airing cross-channel and
barker-channel spots; and running an on-hold message or implementing an in-house
Some of the premiums include: Barney plush toys; The Big
Lebowski T-shirts and compact discs; The Borrowers kid- and adult-sized
T-shirts; and posters for all three titles.
Viewer's Choice will also encourage operators to
promote the films with a contest that could earn them gift certificates to online
bookseller Amazon.com, Grossman said. The network will give away 250 awards in three
PolyGram has made a significant buy on The Prevue Channel
for the three titles. For each play that these titles receive during their first two weeks
on Viewer's Choice, spots will run on Prevue at least four times during the hour
leading up to the start time.
"We are thrilled to partner with Viewer's Choice
to offer this level of support to cable operators," said Suzanne Rainey, vice
president, pay television and cable distribution at PolyGram. "We are especially
pleased that Viewer's Choice has used their affiliate Web site as an interactive tool
to educate affiliates about and involve them in this promotion."
Viewer's Choice and PolyGram will provide marketing
kits that include: customizable ad slicks; requests for radio and video spots; full
details describing the promotion; marketing suggestions; and a sign-up sheet for systems
that wish to participate, Grossman said. Operators can also download marketing materials
at Viewer's Choice's affiliate Web site (www.viewerschoice.net).
Grossman said Viewer's Choice will continue to seek
ways to work with studios to package and promote PPV titles.
"We always look for opportunities to participate with
the studios on movie promotions," Grossman said. "We hope that this partnership
will set precedence for future co-marketing efforts with PolyGram, as well as with other
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