Adelphia Communications apparently will offer In Demand's Feb. 17 Eminem pay-per-view concert to subscribers after all.
Neither executives with the MSO nor In Demand would officially confirm the decision to carry the event. But the rap star's show is on the PPV schedule in most of Adelphia's systems, including its huge Los Angeles-area cluster.
In a statement issued three weeks ago, Adelphia executive vice president of operations Michael Rigas said the concert is "not programming that we wish to be providing." A two-time Grammy Award winner, Eminem has drawn criticism from several groups for his often misogynist and anti-gay lyrics.
Adelphia-known for its conservative views-also doesn't carry adult PPV programming. It's unclear what led the operator to do an about-face and offer the concert.
Pre-empting the event would have forced the MSO's systems to make several technical alterations at all of its headends.
Though Adelphia will carry the event, it has no plans to provide any marketing support for the show, which will retail at a suggested price of $19.95. In that aspect, Adelphia will not be alone: At least one other MSO and several systems have also indicated they will not aggressively market the event.
Atlanta-based Cox Communications Inc. has said it will limit its marketing efforts for the show.
"There will be very low-key advertising," for the concert, an MSO spokeswoman said.
A midsized Southeast system also said it would not provide extensive promotion for the concert in an effort to limit customer complaints about the show.
"Those people who want to see it will be able to find it," said the operator.
But In Demand said the majority of systems are promoting the concert, which has the potential to set a record PPV buy-rate for a music event. A 1991 New Kids on the Block concert currently holds the record at 260,000 buys, according to Showtime Event Television.
"The concert has been received very positively from a business perspective by all of our affiliates," In Demand vice president of marketing Greg Rothberg said.
In Demand itself has developed an extensive marketing plan for the event that takes advantage of the Internet and radio. In Demand has received several plugs for the show on Farmclub.com, USA Network's weekly music show.
Farmclub.com, which features up-and-coming artists and allows viewers to participate via the Internet, has promoted the Eminem concert throughout February both on-air and on its Web site, he said.
Rollingstone.com, the music magazine's Web site, is also running ads for Eminem, Rothberg said. Rolling Stone last December named Eminem its artist of the year.
In Demand also will place messages in music chat rooms that play up the concert.
Also, the company is sending out e-mails promoting the event to more than 1.5 million previous PPV buyers, Rothberg said. It has also hired teens in the top 20 markets to hand out flyers promoting the show.
"It's a tactic that we've never done before," Rothberg said.
The concert will also receive promotion leading up to the event from urban radio stations in the top 30 markets.
Overall, the Eminem concert represents the most extensive marketing effort to date for In Demand with the exception of last year's New Year's Eve concert by Prince.