The new millenium will ring in the first unified brand for
the pay-per-view industry in Viewer's Choice's In Demand.
But another highly anticipated PPV brand will not be ready
by 2000 -- the unified studio marketing effort. After nearly two years of meeting,
organizing, formulating and calculating, the studios have yet to develop a distinctive
brand for their PPV product.
The initial concept for the studio brand was very solid:
combine all of the various monthly studio PPV-movie promotions into one industry marketing
message, introduced by a well-known movie star, to provide greater awareness for PPV. The
studios would pool their resources to give their valuable movie product an additional
marketing push within the promising PPV window.
But instead of hitting the new millennium running with its
brand along with In Demand, the effort has been slowed by several financial and conceptual
problems, according to several studio executives.
In fact, several studios that were initially in the game
when the consortium began have now taken seats on the sidelines. Warmer Bros. even
launched its own PPV-movie brand, "Movie Pay-Per-View -- All the Hits at Your
Fingertips," in an effort to jump-start the category.
Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox and
Paramount are now the studios leading the effort toward providing a cohesive and concise
marketing message for PPV movies.
Yet despite their apparent creative differences, the
studios all believe the unified marketing effort is still worth pursuing.
The PPV-movie business stands to be the major benefactor of
the development of digital near-video-on-demand and, eventually, VOD programming over the
next two to five years. PPV movies are expected to easily hit the $1 billion annual mark
in a few short years.
A unified studio marketing effort promoting monthly
PPV-movie product under one eye-catching brand would further support the PPV-movie
business' revenue potential. Further, if the industry can work in tandem with the In
Demand PPV model, the PPV business could become a powerful marketing tool for operators
attempting to sell digital boxes, while effectively competing against the direct-broadcast
The studio consortium may be down now, but all of the
studio executives believe that the unified marketing concept will eventually be alive and
kicking in the 21st century.