Several cable systems will join Viewer's Choice and Comedy
Central in a grassroots pay-per-view promotion in which they will donate a share of
PPV-movie revenue to local children's hospitals.
Systems in New York; New Jersey; Memphis, Tenn.; and Los
Angeles will donate a portion of revenues from Universal PPV Entertainment's Patch
Adams as part of an effort initiated through Comedy's "Comedy Rx" charity
efforts, Comedy vice president of affiliate marketing Steve Males said.
The movie, which generated $134 million at the box office,
features comedian Robin Williams as a doctor who uses humor to help treat sick patients.
"We feel that this fits in perfectly with our Comedy
Rx initiative, which promotes the use of humor to help heal," Males said. "It's
a perfect opportunity to benefit several children's hospitals, as well as to help
operators generate more incremental PPV revenue."
In New York, the Metro Cable Co-Op -- which includes
Cablevision Systems Corp., Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. systems representing 2.4
million subscribers -- will donate 10 cents from all Patch Adams PPV purchases to
three area children's hospitals. Viewer's Choice and Comedy will match system
contributions, Males said.
"We think [the promotion] is important in terms of
reaching out to the community," Comcast area PPV manager and co-op chairman Priscilla
Reilly said. "We're always looking for ways to give back to the community through
PPV, and the Patch Adams movie lends itself to that type of donation."
Comedy will also work with the Big Apple Circus to have the
organization's clown-care unit visit several children's hospitals as part of the
promotion, Males said.
Similar efforts will take place in Los Angeles, where the
area AT&T Cable Services system will donate an unspecified amount to the children's
burn center and the Wellness Community charity, Males said.
In Memphis, Time Warner will donate funds to the Memphis
Target House children's facility. The system will also offer collection boxes to take
comedy-related book and video donations and create a laughter library within Target House,
Universal will support the movie with an extensive on-air
and print PPV campaign. "We've had a great response [to the movie] from the
industry," Universal vice president of pay television Holly Leff-Pressman said.
"We're very excited that the cable operators have gotten behind the movie."
The Patch Adams promotion is the second such PPV
tie-in effort from Comedy. Earlier this year, the network, with 57.8 million basic
subscribers, teamed up with Viewer's Choice to make available to operators its half-hour,
behind-the-scenes show developed for The Waterboy to help promote that movie's PPV
Males said the network expects to continue its marketing
relationship with PPV, and it is working to develop tie-ins with future movies such as Austin
Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and South Park: The Movie.
"We hope that our efforts are helping to increase
[PPV-movie] buy-rates for our affiliates," he added.