Insight Taps Encore for Digital Boost

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Insight Communications Co. Inc. is testing a "Newvideo store at home" marketing campaign in Rockford, Ill., to attract basic-onlycustomers to digital cable.

Encore Media Group LLC helped to tailor the program forInsight. The movie-channel provider has used similar tactics in the past to drive digitalpenetration beyond the typical target base of premium-movie households.

The splashy direct-mailer -- which asks basic-cablecustomers to "Kiss the video store goodbye" -- was sent about two weeks ago,according to Insight senior vice president of marketing and programming Pam Euler-Halling.

Although it may take another week or two to analyzebuy-rates from the campaign, Euler-Halling was pleased with the initial results.

"Nonpremium homes are very heavy video renters,"Encore senior vice president of sales and affiliate marketing Que Spaulding said, addingthat Encore's goal is to help penetrate 25 percent to 30 percent of nonpremium cablehomes with digital.

Why is Encore pushing the new-video-store concept?"It's positioning," Spaulding said. "In a high-tech-gadget world, youhave to give people something they can identify with immediately."

The offer boasts that customers can get more than 500movies per month with "Insight Digital." The flyer promotes 15 commercial-freemovie channels --12 themed Encore channels, as well as The Independent Film Channel,Turner Classic Movies and Romance Classics -- for $11.90 per month, including the digitalfee and $4.95 for the movie tier.

Also playing into the promotion is Insight's"OnSet" video-on-demand service, with access to 250 movie titles.

Spaulding said VOD compares with the just-released sectionin a video store, while some of Encore's channels, such as Westerns and Mystery, actas genre-specific aisles.

Euler-Halling stressed that movies are just one aspect ofthe digital service that Insight needs to promote. The interactive program guide, digitalmusic channels and the "LocalSource" information guide also need to be explainedin separate campaigns, she added.

If the new-video-store mailer proves successful,Euler-Halling said, Insight might expand the effort to the rest of Rockford. And if thepromotion demonstrates higher-than-normal close rates and retention rates, the MSO mightadd other digital markets, including Columbus, Ohio, and Evansville, Ind.

In addition to the direct-mailer, Insight is backing thecampaign with billboards, radio, television and telemarketing. Encore helped with co-opadvertising funding, as well as training support for Insight's customer-servicerepresentatives.

Spaulding said it's important to let former premiumcustomers know that "Pay TV on digital is not your father's pay TV." Oncethey know that premium television is no longer a one-screen option, former pay customersmay come back to the fold, he added.