Fox Hits Homer with Latino Series Promo

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Long before the Arizona Diamondbacks dethroned the New York Yankees, the 2001 World Series had already made executives with Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports World Español into winners.

That's because a four-market promotional tie-in to the network's Spanish-language coverage of the fall classic had met its goal of driving subscriber acquisitions and digital upgrades.

The MSO and network teamed up to pick four participating markets: New York; Orlando, Fla.; El Paso, Texas; and Milwaukee, said Fox Cable Networks Group senior vice president of affiliate marketing Janice Arouh. The latter city offered some surprises.

"We had no idea the results would be so significant in Milwaukee," Arouh added.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Milwaukee's Hispanic population had surged by 82 percent, to nearly 72,000 between 1990 and 2000, the companies reported.

Time Warner's digital-cable tier — which includes FSWE — launched on Sept. 5 in Milwaukee. During the promotion period, which included a local "Mexican Fiesta" event, Time Warner tallied 106 new sales, comprising 74 digital upgrades and 32 new installations, according to Arouh.

The World Series promotion and a "Name the Hispanic Package Contest" lured in 515 Hispanic subscribers from mid-August to mid-September, said system vice president of community and government relations Bev Greenberg.

Time Warner's New York system tallied nearly 13,000 digital upgrades, Arouh noted. The El Paso and Orlando systems had not provided complete promotion results, she said.

To support the month-long effort, Arouh's group supplied the Time Warner systems with various "Perfect Game" promotional materials, including cross-channel spots and point-of-sale posters.

Affiliates also received CD-ROMs with scripts for radio commercials, direct-mail pieces and ad slicks for newspapers, as well as TV Guide
or local programming-guide supplements. All these materials were produced in both Spanish and in English.

The World Series promotion also offered two new enrollees from the four markets a chance to win a JVC home-entertainment system and a year of free cable service, including FSWE. Customer-service personnel with the best sign-up results were also eligible for prizes.

Although Fox Sports just completed the first season of its six-year TV rights deal with Major League Baseball, Fox Cable won't know if FWSE will reprise its Spanish-language postseason telecasts until sometime next year, Arouh said.

But given the results, both Time Warner and Fox Cable are enthused about a repeat play next year.

Greenberg said her Milwaukee system "absolutely" would be interested in another turn at the plate. The other three Time Warner systems also have indicated they would like a second shot, according to Fox Cable.

"We would love to do this again, with Time Warner Cable or other key operators," Arouh said.