AT&T, Nat Geo Seek Data Subs

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Fox Cable Networks Group's National Geographic Channel is about to break its first affiliate campaign touting high-speed Internet access, in conjunction with AT&T Broadband.

The MSO's nationwide participation will begin during the week of Nov. 4, said Fox Cable senior vice president of affiliate marketing Janice Arouh.

Arouh — whose group has been pitching such an effort to Charter Communications Inc. and other MSOs lately — said several operators expressed "a lot of interest in a campaign involving National Geographic Channel, due to its strong branding."

Fox Cable's "High-Speed Data Exploration Kit" will include a CD-ROM with two cross-channel spots of different lengths to drive acquisition, as well as a customizable postcard and online banner ads, Arouh said.

The umbrella theme for the marketing materials is, "There's Always More to Explore."

"The No. 1 benefit is speed" compared to telephone modems, said Arouh, adding that cable modems can offer "richer content."

To drive that message home, the postcard and other marketing materials noted that the NGC Web site (www.nationalgeographic.com/channel) is "best explored with a high-speed, cable-powered Internet connection," said Arouh.

In early November, AT&T Broadband will send its customers a flash e-mail message to supplement the NGC materials, according to Arouh.

The MSO, still working on specific offers for its marketing effort, also will place online banner ads on various unidentified Internet sites that reach demographics similar to NGC's audience. An MSO spokeswoman was unavailable for additional comment at press time.

The Fox Cable marketing team has been working with NGC's consumer Internet unit for months to coordinate the start of the campaign with the launch of the refreshed Web site.

NGC has greatly expanded content on the site, including streamed video, information on the Great Barrier Reef, Marco Polo in China and others topics of interest, plus interactive games and features (such as unwrapping a mummy).

The expanded site went live on Oct. 21, following a "soft launch" on Oct. 17, she said.

For subsequent MSO participants, the campaign will be an "evergreen," with no timing constraints.

Aside from using the materials in an acquisition effort, MSOs may tailor them to fit other specific objectives, Arouh said.

As operators proffer increasing evidence that high-speed Internet services generate higher revenue per subscriber while reducing churn, Arouh said Fox Cable is "very interested" in developing similar campaigns tied to its other networks.

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