DirecTV Scrubs Out Pay-Per-View Soap


DirecTV Inc. pulled the plug last week on pay-per-view
time-shifting of NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives.

DirecTV and Columbia Pictures Television, which produces
the daytime drama, jointly decided to end the 13-month experiment last week after what
DirecTV termed a "successful" run.

The direct-broadcast satellite service would not provide
specific buy-rates for the daily episodes, which retailed at a suggested price of $1.49
each or $4.99 for a monthly subscription.

"The decision to end it was a mutual one by DirecTV
and Columbia," DirecTV manager of communications Robert Mercer said. "We were
very pleased with the buy-rates, and we will look to employ other time-shifting
opportunities in the future."

Representatives from Columbia could not be reached for
comment at press time.

Days of Our Lives was the first attempt at time-shifted
programming by either a cable or DBS PPV service.

Although some observers suggested that time-shifting
popular nighttime hits like Seinfeld or ER might attract larger audiences to
PPV, making arrangements to time-shift those shows is more complicated because of the
difficulty in reaching deals with the studios that own them.

It was unclear what DirecTV would provide in place of the
soap opera, but consulting firm B.G. Marketing president Barbara Sullivan expects DirecTV
to continue to be innovative with its PPV products.

"Hopefully, they will put on some new original
programming that will further enhance their PPV [service]," Sullivan said. "They
will have something that brings in more revenue."