Starz is mixing digital and traditional marketing strategies to drive tune-ins to the Jan. 22 debut of scripted drama series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the premium network's second scripted drama after Crash, but one it renewed for a second season before the first one begun.
Starz is trying to reach young viewers through show-specific, gaming applications for Apple's iPhone and iTouch devices, according to Marc DeBevoise senior vice president, digital media, business development and strategy for Starz Media.
The mobile game can be accessed via iTunes and has a Wi-Fi connection feature that lets players amongst each other, he said.
It also is distributing a four-part comic series based on the show. Each episode of the digital comic book series can be purchased at a suggested retail price of $1.99 on Amazon.com, iTunes, Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox videogame consoles.
Starz has teamed with male-targeted Men's Health magazine to create a digital workout around the series. The official Spartacus workout/exercise routine is available as a free iTunes app.
More young people are using their iPhone and iPods for entertainment purposes, so DeBevoise believes the digital offerings will help build momentum.
Otherwise, Starz has teamed with several cable operators to offer free on-demand previews of the series' first and second episodes. Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, Cox Communications, Insight Communications and Mediacom Communications will air episode 1 on Jan. 20 one and episode 2 on Jan. 27 on demand on Jan. 27, Nancy McGee, executive vice president of marketing, said.
DirecTV also will offer a preview of the first two episodes on Jan 21 via its 101 channel.
Apple's iTunes and Netflix will offer Spartacus episodes day and date with their debuts on Starz, said the network.
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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