In an effort to reach subscribers in urban markets, BMG
Entertainment and Showtime Networks Inc. will team up to market both the music label's
musical acts and Showtime's pay TV and pay-per-view boxing events.
As part of the consumer-driven promotion, BMG will offer a
sweepstakes giving consumers and music-store retailers the opportunity to win tickets to a
Showtime Championship Boxing event or a Showtime Event Television PPV-boxing show,
Showtime sports and event programming vice president Jock
The first boxing event to be featured in the promotion is
SET's June 26 Johnny Tapia-Paulie Ayala World Boxing Association bantamweight-championship
event. An in-store promotional campaign for the fight will begin in early June as part of
"Black Music Month."
BMG and Showtime will work together on quarterly promotions
at music-retail stores nationwide, which will give consumers the opportunity to attend
upcoming boxing events, as well as to win music- and boxing-related prizes.
The joint initiative encompasses BMG's music-retail
community and cable operators around the country.
McLean said the promotion -- to be featured in more than
400 music stores around the country -- will try to introduce PPV to more minority
audiences, particularly African- Americans.
While African-American viewers represent 10 percent of U.S.
TV households, they account for 20 percent of multipay TV households. However, they only
make up 13 percent of PPV-movie and event buyers, according to Showtime.
"Urban-music fans and boxing fans will enjoy this
promotion because it ties two powerful entertainment elements together," McClean
said. "Unique marketing initiatives like this highlight Showtime's boxing programming
to old and new consumers nationally and expose our boxing talent to the music
The announcement comes on the heels of the network's
quarterly PPV-event industry summary, which showed that the category is well ahead of last
According to Showtime, first-quarter PPV revenue is
estimated to have hit a record $207 million industrywide, providing an early indication
that 1999 could be the highest-grossing year to date.
The first-quarter figure represented a 171 percent increase
over the same period in 1998 and a 225 percent increase over the first quarter of 1997.
The first quarter saw a dramatic increase in the number of
PPV events, with 34 distributed, compared with 18 for the same period in 1998 and 19 in
Boxing and wrestling continue to represent the lion's share
of PPV-event revenue, with approximately 57 percent ($117.6 million) and 41 percent ($84.3
million), respectively."We are thrilled with the success we've seen this quarter, and
we are working to continue this trend," SET PPV executive vice president and general
manager Mark Greenberg said in a prepared statement.
"SET feels that these results prove the viability of
the pay-per-view event category, and we will be working to develop new events and shows
designed to broaden the marketplace," he added.