Direct-broadcast satellite companies DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications
Corp. plan to turn up the heat in their fight for market share against
beleaguered Adelphia Communications Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection this past week.
DirecTV is expected to unleash a print and radio media blitz Monday in the
Los Angeles market, offering cable subscribers the opportunity to get satellite
television installed in two rooms for $50 or less.
To back the offer, the DBS company has enlisted a number of local installers
and retailers, including consumer-electronics stores Best Buy Co. Inc., The Good
Guys Inc. and Circuit City Stores Inc., DirecTV executive vice president of
marketing, advertising and product development Larry Chapman said.
DirecTV plans to word the ads carefully so that they don't appear too
negative, relying instead on the mainstream press to play up any uncertainty
about the cable company's future.
'Consumers will be concerned that even if Adelphia continues as an operating
company, its ability to enhance its services will be limited in almost any
situation,' Chapman said. DirecTV's message to Adelphia subscribers will be that
DBS provides a reliable
alternative to cable that's all-digital and
immediately available, Chapman added.
Los Angeles has been a good market for DirecTV, Chapman said, in part because
it's such a fragmented cable market. The company plans to extend the offer
quickly to other Adelphia areas once it fine-tunes the messaging in its ads.
EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin said his company continues to run Dish
Network ads targeting Adelphia subscribers. The ads don't make specific
reference to Adelphia's financial troubles, but rather, they highlight any
recent rate increases the MSO introduced in its local markets, Lumpkin