Century Targets Nets with Sub-Loyalty Plan


Century Communications Corp. has created a customer-loyalty
program designed not only to reward customers, but also to spotlight programming networks
one at a time.

Dubbed Century CenterStage, the new customer-retention
program offers special subscriber benefits through its bill inserts every two months. A
different network sponsors each issue of the Century Communications Connector

"We want to maximize viewers' TV experience by
familiarizing them with network signature shows and at the same time reward
retention," said Rebecca Avery DiPanni, basic product manager for Century's
cable division.

A&E Network helped kick off the campaign this past
summer as the sponsor network. In each new Connector, the operator offers what it
calls a Century BackStage Pass. In July and August, A&E offered Century's nearly
1.3 million cable subscribers 25 percent off select A&E-branded mystery videos.

"We're giving the cable network an entire back
page for branding, to stand out on its own and to help drive traffic," said DiPanni.

She added that because "every customer is
valuable," every Century subscriber is automatically eligible for the company's
customer-retention program.

Earlier this fall, Nickelodeon sponsored the
September/October Connector. The network used its spotlight in CenterStage to
promote its new fall lineup, old favorites and the Rugrats movie, which just

The newsletter included a coupon for a free Rugrats
comic book. Nickelodeon parent MTV Networks handled the fulfillment. DiPanni said 10,600
people requested a free comic book.

According to Anthony Barton, affiliate marketing manager
for Nickelodeon, the network included with each comic book a note urging subscribers to
"Stay tuned for more new offers from Century Communications."

MTV Networks has already agreed to sponsor future
newsletters. The November/December Connector is promoting to Century subscribers an
exclusive VH1 Pop-Up Video calendar, for $2.80 each, as a holiday gift incentive.

The Weather Channel, Turner Broadcasting Systems
networks, Discovery Networks and Fox Family Channel have also signed on. The networks will
promote programming-related merchandise such as videos, collectors magazines, CD-ROMs,
books, soundtracks, clothing and toys -- as long as the products have a direct tie-in with
the networks' programming.

DiPanni said Century is using the merchandising offers as a
way to build partnerships with programmers rather than a revenue-generator.

"We're not peddling merchandise," she said.
"This is a way to promote the cable networks."

While other cable operators offer subscriber loyalty
programs, Century's is unique in that it features regular, bimonthly programs, so
that subscribers become accustomed to looking for the new offers in their bill stuffers.

Starting next year, said DiPanni, Century will run
cross-channel spots to remind customers to check out their statements for Century

Century said it will use the customer information it
gathers from redemption handling for future relationship marketing efforts.