Starz Pumps Up Its Latino Marketing Thrust

Starz Encore LLC will soon present the first phase of a fully integrated marketing campaign to affiliates, aimed at increasing the take rate among Latinos for its Starz premium service and its Super Pak multiplex offering.

Xcelente Marketing is currently developing a branded, acquisition initiative that Starz expects to present to distributors next month. Eyeing a summer execution, the campaign will center on some high-profile films, notably Pirates of the Caribbean, according to Miles McNamee, the programmer's senior vice president of affiliate marketing.

“We hope to get the presentation to affiliates by mid-April and then turn it over to our sales force,” said McNamee.

“It's a multi-tactic campaign with Starz as the feature service,” he added.

McNamee said Starz, which early this year selected Xcelente from a number of shops to work with it on an ongoing project-by-project basis, is looking to boost its base with Latinos, a group it has successfully marketed to in the past.


“Latinos over-index in terms of the number of hours they watch TV compared to the general market, and they also go to see more films,” he said. “It's our strategy corporately to pursue this market more consistently. When we've done campaigns in the past, we've seen a three-to-one return, vis a vis the general market.”

McNamee said it scored that rate of return when it worked with Xcelente with Cox Communications Inc. in the Phoenix market last August and September.

Xcelente produced direct-mail pieces and worked on a letter addressed by the MSO's area general manager.

Xcelente principals Elizabeth Suarez and Toti Cadavid, whose career paths have included stints at AT&T Broadband and Media One, respectively, said that in the past their shop has “trans-created” Starz's general-market campaigns into appropriate Latino-based information for TV, radio, telemarketing, telemessaging, direct mail and radio. Its work for Starz has also been done in conjunction with Dish Latino, DirecTV Inc.'s Para Todos platform and Time Warner Cable in Texas.

For the upcoming acquisition campaign under development, Starz, in a first, will add newspapers to the media mix, said Cadavid, who added the effort is likely to incorporate some English-language ads.

“For many Hispanic households, several generations live in the home.

There are older people who still speak only Spanish, while the younger people are bilingual, fully fluent in English,” she said. “The goal is to promote the breadth and the value of the Super Pak to everyone in the household.”

To that end, the Secondary Audio Programming Spanish feed for Starz's primetime lineup averages 96% -- 93% for Encore, 97% for Starz Theater, 83% for Love Stories and 73% for Black Starz, among its other services.

Suarez said the upcoming acquisition push would also extend to the community level: “Faith-based programs are key for Hispanics, so we'll be looking to churches, as well as events in key Hispanic markets.”

Mobile marketing may also come into play in the form of Starz's VOD jeep, which can be parked at various locations and showcase video products.


Suarez said she expects that at least one cable distributor will step up with the acquisition campaign this summer, and others will follow suit thereafter.

“The Latino market is growing rapidly and operators are interested in reaching this group. We're establishing a blueprint for a campaign that can be updated for different time periods, with different films or actors,” she explained. “The campaign can be customized to meet a distributor's needs.”

Xcelente is considering such consumer incentives as gifts with purchase, sweepstakes and product giveaways to drive a campaign phase, which would last two or three months and require affiliates to run a host of cross-channel spots.