Las Vegas -- U.S. Satellite Broadcasting plans to take onthe cable industry head-to-head this year with a marketing campaign designed to tellconsumers they don't need cable to watch local television stations.
The direct-broadcast satellite company, which shares theDigital Satellite System platform with DirecTv Inc., distributed what it called a'public-service announcement' to broadcasters across the country earlier this month,hoping to clear up what it says are misconceptions spread by the cable industry. The spotshows a cable installer addressing a class of grammar-school children on career day aboutthe inability of DBS subscribers to access local channels.
In the USSB spot, the cable guy is quickly contradicted bythe youngsters, culminating with the question from one student, 'How do you sleep atnight?'
When the video was unveiled during a DBS marketing panel atthe recent Consumer Electronics Show, a conference-roomful of satellite dealers respondedwith cheers.
At least for now, USSB will not buy air time for the spot.Instead, said Phil Suttle Jr., vice president of consumer marketing, the company iscounting on local broadcasters to run the 30-second spot for free in order to help set therecord straight. There's an 800 number for consumers who want a brochure on accessinglocal signals.
USSB backs the use of an off-air antenna to get localchannels. Company executives believe the bond between DBS companies and broadcasters willgrow, especially as local stations begin the move to digital broadcasting.
USSB's parent company, Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., has along history in radio and television broadcasting.