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Spring to Distribute Summer PPV Concerts

In an effort to reach niche pay-per-view audiences, Spring Communications will distribute a gospel-oriented and an alternative rock PPV concert this summer.

The California-based company will offer a gospel music event July 15 featuring popular gospel performer Fred Hammond, Spring president John Rubey said.

In Demand, TVN Entertainment Corp. and EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network will distribute the two-hour Purpose by Design concert at a suggested retail price of $19.95, he said.

The concert is the first PPV appearance for a mainstream gospel artist. "I think this is an indication of PPV trying to reach out to serve a niche audience," Rubey said.

On Aug. 5, Spring will distribute the Rolling Rock Town Fair concert via PPV featuring such artists as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Filter, Moby, Fuel, Our Lady of Peace and Marcy Playground.

While the most successful PPV concerts have featured more mainstream, teen-oriented bands such as the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls, Rubey feels the combination of some of the hottest alternative groups on one stage will draw viewers, although he would not predict a buy rate.

"We believe that this is the biggest event of the summer," Rubey said. "These are all the top alternative bands today and at $19.95 it's a great value for the consumer."

Along with the promotion provided through In Demand, the PPV concert will be featured in Rolling Stone a week before the event, said Michael Abramson Enterprises president Michael Abramson.

"There will also be a heavy radio promotional schedule from In Demand and Rolling Rock [beer brewer Latrobe Brewing Co.]," said Abramson, who is handling cable and DBS distribution for the event.

"We are thrilled with In Demand's commitment to this concert and believe that the event could approach the number of buys that [Woodstock 1999] did last year," he said.

That event generated around 150,000 PPV buys.

The concerts are just two of several PPV music events slated for July and August. In Demand and Comcast Corp. will co-produce and distribute an event featuring rock group Smash Mouth July 8 ($19.95 suggested retail price.)

In Demand will also distribute an August concert featuring heavy metal rock groups Mötley Crüe, Megadeth and Anthrax, network executives said.

Also in August, In Demand will offer an event from the Montreux Jazz Festival.