AT&T has relabeled its transactional video-on-demand service U-verse Movies, emphasizing the availability of new releases to fight rental competitors Netflix and Redbox.
The telco, which previously marketed the service as U-verse On Demand, is touting that it offers titles up to 28 days before Netflix and that customers can watch many titles on TV, as well as online, on mobile devices and using a Microsoft Xbox 360.
"We know our customers have lots of ways to get movies," said John Blinkiewicz, AT&T executive director of U-verse marketing. "Our competition has changed in the on-demand space, from the cable space, and shifted more toward the Netflixes and Redboxes of the world."
AT&T's U-verse Movies campaign kicked off Jan. 5 and will continue through the rest of the first quarter of 2011, Blinkiewicz said. Promotions include TV spots, direct mail, print and radio in certain markets. "We're focused on our member base, but we're also looking to play up these advantages for customer acquisition," he said.
DirecTV and Blockbuster also have marketing strategies taking aim at Netflix's 28-day delay on new releases with several studios. Meanwhile, the cable industry last fall reprised its VOD awareness campaign, "The Video Store Just Moved In," with a four-week run in conjunction with major studios.
Netflix agreed to the embargo in exchange for expanded video-streaming rights, and the company's executives have maintained that most consumers care more about having a large number of choices than having access to a particular new movie in the DVD window.
But according to AT&T's Blinkiewicz, customers absolutely want new releases as quickly as possible. "We want our customers to know we're a better alternative," he said.
AT&T's marketing site for U-verse Movies is www.att.com/Common/iptv/files/uversemovies.
Titles currently available to rent through the service include Toy Story 3, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Machete, Salt, Shrek Forever After, Despicable Me and Secretariat.