DBS Springs Forward with Marketing Promos


DirecTV Inc. will kick off its new spring marketing
campaign Thursday (March 11) by offering new subscribers free professional installation
and three free months of its 85-channel "Total Choice" programming package. The
promotion runs through April 25.

The consumer offer will be backed by three new 30-second TV
spots that are scheduled to break this week on network and cable television. DirecTV will
also feature the offer in print ads in the top 31 markets, as well as in national
publications including Parade, USA Today, People and Sports

John DiDio, senior vice president of the satellite division
of Pegasus Communications Corp., which distributes DirecTV in some rural markets, said
dealers see the new promotion as a great traffic-builder. Traditionally, the early months
of the year are relatively quiet for satellite-system sales.

But direct-broadcast satellite companies are expected to
report their strongest February to date, thanks in part to two aggressive marketing
campaigns by EchoStar Communications Corp.

EchoStar is targeting PrimeStar subscribers directly by
offering them free systems and installation; the offer is being promoted on the
company's Web site. In past bounty programs, EchoStar only offered dealer incentives.

EchoStar is also offering free hardware to new
non-PrimeStar subscribers who commit to one year's worth of programming. The company
reportedly had an internal "Drive for Five" goal in February, with the hopes of
reaching 100,000 new subscribers for the fifth straight month.

EchoStar celebrated its third birthday this past Saturday
(March 6), and it used the occasion to update its Web site and to offer current
subscribers an incentive to upgrade their premium-movie packages.

The company sent greeting cards offering a
"limited-edition birthday bear" -- complete with a bright-red Dish Network
T-shirt -- to those who choose to upgrade.