Time Warner Pitches Subs on Big Picture5/30/1999 8:00 PM Eastern
Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck may be long-lost relatives of
some California cable customers, according to a new marketing campaign set to launch this
In an effort to retain customers and beef up new
acquisitions, cable operator Time Warner Communications aims to remind its Los
Angeles-area customers that the MSO is part of a much larger entertainment company -- and
that as part of that family, subscribers will reap some rewards, too.
In early June, Time Warner's Los Angeles division will
mail a limited-edition Big Picture magazine that details other Time Warner
companies, such as Time Inc.'s consumer publications, Warner Bros. Studio Stores,
Turner Sports, The WB Television Network, Time Warner Cable Networks, Warner Home Video,
Warner Music Group and Warner Books.
"It's the biggest communication product that
I've seen for cable customers," Richard Cozzi, vice president of sales and
marketing for Time Warner's Los Angeles division's southern region, said of the
To highlight Time Warner's larger corporate ties in a
dramatic way, the magazine will promote the system's "Big Picture Tour"
contest. The Los Angeles division will award five-day, cross-country trips to two
customers each from its northern and southern regions.
The tour will start in Los Angeles and make stops in
Atlanta and New York, where highlights will include a tour of the CNN Studio, an Atlanta
Braves Major League Baseball game, a taping of TheRosie O'Donnell show
and a Home Box Office movie.
New and existing cable customers must look through the Big
Picture magazine and answer seven questions in order to enter. "We hope people
will be prompted to check out the magazine," Cozzi said.
The magazine, which Cozzi said has "coffee-table
appeal," discusses the system's Road Runner high-speed Internet access, as well
as the operator's involvement with Cable in the Classroom. Other sections highlight
original programming from HBO, such as The Sopranos and Dennis Miller Live.
There's also an article on Time Warner's
digital-cable plans, which the division intends to detail to customers "in the
not-too-distant future," Cozzi added.
The Big Picture Tour winners won't be the only ones
who benefit from the promotion. All readers will be able to take advantage of a free
screening of Warner Bros.' You've Got Mail -- which premieres June 18 on
pay-per-view -- with information found in the magazine, Cozzi said.
The magazine is the latest promotion in an umbrella
branding campaign that the system started about three years ago. In the past, it has
offered subscribers free subscriptions to Time publications like Entertainment Weekly.
Since the operator began stressing its affiliation with
parent company Time Warner, Cozzi said, its consumer approval ratings have jumped
"We have seen churn reduced year after year,"
Cozzi added. "Customers seem to be responding."
The magazine will be sent to the system's entire
customer base, as well as to a number of targeted nonsubscribers. Cozzi said that although
Time Warner's operations are decentralized, its systems are encouraged to share ideas
with each other and to cooperate on joint marketing efforts when it makes sense.
As part of its latest promotion, Time Warner will offer its
customers "Special Time Warner Days" June 5 and 6, when cable customers will
receive 20 percent discounts on merchandise at Warner Bros. Stores. A 15 percent discount
will remain in effect for the rest of the month.
Ad agency SCDRG Inc. president David Robertson said Warner
Bros. character cartoons will be on hand during the retail events to help the company show
its appreciation for its cable customers. SCDRG was heavily involved in developing
marketing materials for the campaign.