In Demand to Sport Big Fall Promo Drive

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In an effort to counterdirect-broadcast satellite's annual holiday marketing blitz, In Demand will launch an aggressive fall campaign that highlights cable's various out-of-market PPV sports packages.

The effort, titled "Sports In Demand," will play up digital cable's ability to offer subscribers as many games as possible from a number of sports packages, said In Demand vice president of marketing Gregg Rothberg.

Those packages include "NBA League Pass," "NHL Center Ice," "WNBA Season Pass," and "ESPN MLS Shootout," as well as the "ESPN Full Court" college-basketball and "ESPN GamePlan" college-football packages.

In Demand is still developing creative work for the campaign, but taglines under consideration include: "Don't just follow your team, stalk it;" "If you want better seats, buy a better couch;" and "See more games than the guy who drives the blimp."

The promotion, to launch in September, was created to highlight digital cable's value to subscribers, Rothberg said. It will also spotlight digital-cable programming other than sports fare and target the industry's top digital-cable markets.

"We wanted to promote our lineup of sports packages to give cable sports fans another reason not to move over to DBS," Rothberg said. "We wanted to provide something for the industry that better positions cable against DBS."

In Demand has not finalized the campaign's media schedule, but Rothberg said it and cable operators will back the push with more than $1 million in cash and related promotional value. The effort will also have an Internet component through the In Demand Web site (www.indemand.com).

"This will be a full, multimedia campaign that will feature TV, print, radio and Internet," Rothberg said.

The various leagues may also become promotional partners, which would help boost awareness for the sports packages, he added.

The PPV campaign will most likely go head-to-head with DBS providers' annual holiday sales drive. It will also butt heads with DirecTV Inc.'s aggressive national marketing effort for its exclusive "NFL Sunday Pass" out-of-market package.

"The timing of the campaign is good because the fall is usually when DirecTV puts together its holiday push," Rothberg said. "It will serve as another tool in the affiliate's arsenal in its efforts to sell digital."

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