News

Mag Rack Campaign on Track

12/05/2004 7:00 PM Eastern

More than three years after its debut, Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.’s Mag Rack unit plans to roll out its first consumer marketing campaign this week.

For the next month, New York, New Jersey and Long Island commuters who take the train to work will see witty posters that illustrate Mag Rack’s niche video-on-demand content, ranging from Guitar Xpress to Mission: Space.

One of the ads features a scary looking biker posing with a stereotypical nerd, under the headline, “Bikers, Jocks, Science Geeks & Nobody Gets Beat Up.”

All of the ads, designed by agency Wolfe/Doyle, contain the tagline, “TV for whatever turns you on.”

The posters were slated to be placed Dec. 6 in railroad train cars running on the Long Island Railroad, Metro-North and PATH railroad lines, and will target Cablevision Systems Corp.’s digital-cable customers.

“We think the time is right to do something like this,” said Mag Rack general manager Dan Ronayne. “Here in New York, Cablevision’s digital penetration has increased significantly, so we think we have a critical mass in place.”

Although Mag Rack is also distributed by Charter Communications Inc., Insight Communications Co., Mediacom Communications Corp., Blue Ridge Cable and Mid-Hudson Cablevision, the campaign will only run in Cablevision’s subscriber area, Ronayne said.

Ronayne declined to discuss how much Mag Rack will spend on the campaign. Some of the poster ads also tout Rainbow’s Sportskool VOD service, which includes on-demand yoga and aerobics classes. The copy on one reads, “Get a six-pack delivered on demand.”

Driving consumer awareness for Mag Rack and Sportskool is important for Rainbow, which hopes to sell advertising for the VOD services through program sponsorships, traditional 30-second spots or product placements, Ronayne said.

“Independent of any advertising strategy that we may adopt, it’s important for us to promote and advertise Mag Rack and Sportskool to drive awareness so we increase the value proposition for our distributors,” Ronayne said.

Mag Rack’s cable affiliates don’t charge subscribers a premium for the programming service, which is available in about 3 million digital-cable homes.

Mag Rack now features 20 different niche VOD magazines. Ronayne said the most popular of which is Guitar Xpress.

Additional Mag Rack VOD services include American Catholic, Classic Cars, Cook with the Pros, Inside Weddings, Photography Close Up, School of Music and Yoga Retreat.

Early next year, Mag Rack will add a Let’s Dance instructional service and a diet channel called Low Carb Gourmet, Ronayne said.

Cablevision and Blue Ridge are the only cable operators that carry Sportskool, which offers subscribers instructional VOD sessions on many sports, including football, running, golf, tennis and soccer. Sportskool debuted last year and is available in about 1.3 million homes.

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