Showtime Plans Integrated Marketing Effort to Boost Subscriptions

Showtime Networks Inc. plans to begin an integrated direct marketing campaign May 15 to boost subscriptions and promote its new digital cable offerings.

The three-and-a-half-month campaign will incorporate a 30-second direct response television spot, direct mailings, outbound telemarketing, local and national radio spots, outdoor advertising, traditional television ads, print ads, a promotional offer and a free preview of the network's offerings.

“Product offerings on other channels can become a little thin during this time of year,” said Dina Goldberg, senior vice president of marketing at Showtime Networks Inc., New York. “We are trying to capitalize on this by promoting new offerings and programs.”

The 30-second DRTV spot, which will be distributed by local cable operators, will highlight the network's Showtime Unlimited package digital and analog offerings, including Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Beyond, Showtime Next, Showtime Women, Showtime Family Zone and Sundance Channel. The spot also will feature a variety of movie and programming clips.

“The DRTV spot will position Showtime Unlimited as a package offering, but allow for different packages for each participating local cable affiliate,” Goldberg said. Package prices will differ based on each local affiliate's offering. She added that Showtime is targeting a broad demographic of ages and income levels because of the wide range of offerings.

Red Group, Showtime's internal advertising division, is producing the spot. Consumers will be directed to local toll-free phone numbers or a national Showtime toll-free number to subscribe, Goldberg said. The company has not yet selected a telemarketing agency.

Showtime plans to send 15 million direct mail pieces to subscribers and non-subscribers through local cable operators. The company also plans to place 3 million outbound telemarketing calls during the campaign.

The Showtime radio ads will include local call-to-action spots and national brand awareness spots. Print advertisements will run in TV Guide and its supplements in up to 14 U.S. markets.

Showtime also will run a promotion in which subscribers who submit two months of Showtime cable bills will receive a $20 Sharper Image gift certificate. “This is allowing us to marry our position with [The] Sharper Image's unique products,” Goldberg said.

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