Playboy TV plans to heat things up this summer with a
national promotion called "Sizzlin' Sampler" that previews the adult network's
Affiliates can choose to run the preview Wednesday, Aug.
18, or Friday, Aug. 20.
According to director of affiliate marketing Jeff Ophime,
some operators are reluctant to give up potential weekend revenues from the network in
exchange for the deeply discounted or free preview.
But Ophime recommended that operators opt for Friday over
Wednesday when setting their preview dates. "If it's the best night to watch, then
it's the best night to sample," he added.
Although Playboy runs preview promotions twice a year, this
is the first time the network is running hosted samples of its most popular shows,
including 10-minute segments of its original movies, plus Night Calls Live, Sex
Court, Playmates and Naughty Amateur Home Videos.
With tens of thousands of new eyeballs expected to watch
during the preview next month, Playboy wanted to show them everything it has to offer,
Each affiliate can set its own pricing for the preview, but
Ophime suggested that it be free or deeply discounted, at about 99 cents.
If affiliates give the preview away, Playboy does not
charge them. Otherwise, the network adheres to the same contractual revenue split that it
does for regularly priced PPV events.
Because the Sizzlin' Sampler preview is adult programming,
subscribers must order the service following the same parental-control guidelines as they
do on a typical evening. Even in preview mode, Ophime said, "It's never in the
To participate in the promotion, Playboy asks affiliates to
run 150 cross-channel spots and 500 preview barker spots, in addition to placing a
quarter-page print ad in a local newspaper or programming guide.
A few days before the campaign, Playboy will monitor
affiliates' customer-service representatives to see if they're following the script
written to promote the preview, rewarding attentive CSRs with Playboy-branded prizes.
Ophime said he encourages affiliates to take advantage of
other co-op materials the network provides throughout the year, including radio ads and
on-hold messages. "National campaigns only work when combined with good monthly
marketing," he said.
"We do believe you need to market adult"
programming to increase buy-rates, Ophime added, although he admitted that some systems
are concerned about offending their customers.
"We really take a lot of care to produce spots that
offend nobody," Ophime insisted. "Even the print we produced for this, no one
would look at it and be offended." He added that the TV spots are tamer than those
run for daytime soap operas.
"Obviously, you're not going to cross-promote this on
predominantly family-oriented or kids' networks," Ophime said. But sports channels,
all-news channels and other networks targeting adults would be good bets for the
cross-channel spots, he added.
Playboy also wants to encourage affiliates to signal the
preview offer on their programming-guide scrolls so viewers will find the preview on the
night when it's aired.
To help drive sampling among casual Playboy viewers, the
network will promote the preview on-air. "We want the occasional viewers to tune in
to see what's on," Ophime said.
Familiarity with a broad selection of Playboy programming
may encourage light viewers to switch from pay-per-view to subscription purchasers.
"Systems that promote monthly subscriptions take home
more revenue," Ophime added.
PPV and subscription pricing is done at the system level.
It varies from $9.95 to $14.95 per month, or $4.95 to $7.95 for a PPV movie or event.