Cable Woos DBS Subs with Racy Howard Stern Ads

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In Demand is running a racy ad campaign for its Howard TV On Demand product, from magazine ads featuring a bikini-clad stripper dancing on a pole with the American flag to a mobile van in New York running videos of nude women on Howard Stern’s morning show.

The ads -- including a full-page ad in Entertainment Weekly -- tout a free online preview that In Demand and Stern are running for his subscription-video-on-demand program. The preview runs from April 25-29.

In Demand said it is targeting DirecTV and EchoStar Communications subscribers with the Internet preview. Satellite subscribers who agree to dump DirecTV or EchoStar’s Dish Network for cable are being offered three free months of Howard TV, which normally costs $13.95 monthly.

Promoters also rented an old milk truck containing booths running Howard TV programming to drive around the streets of Manhattan, which the New York Post described earlier this week as a “mobile peep show.”

At least one In Demand owner, Time Warner Cable, is also running previews on its Cutting Edge On Demand Channel for Howard TV. The nine-minute previews -- containing shots of Stern and his cohorts throwing meatballs at naked women -- cost just two cents.

Comcast, Time Warner and Cox Communications own In Demand. The companies -- which don’t reveal the performance of adult-themed programming to Wall Street or the media -- have been tightlipped about the performance of Howard TV since it debuted in November 2005.

But if other operators have been as successful with Howard TV as Cablevision Systems -- which signed nearly 5,000 Howard TV subscribers in its first two days of availability -- the service is a big moneymaker for cable operators.

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