Starz Pushes 'Crash’ Samples

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Starz Entertainment wants consumers to have ample opportunity to collide with free samples of its first original dramatic series, Crash.

The show debuts Oct. 17 on the Starz premium network. Before that, consumers will have many ways to check out the first two episodes via cable operators’ free on-demand platforms, on the Web, on DirecTV’s The 101 channel and on DVDs given away at Best Buy stores.

Co-produced with Lionsgate and featuring several key creators of the 2006 Best Picture Oscar-winning film, Crash stars Dennis Hopper and delves into intersections in the lives of characters residing in Los Angeles. Starz ordered 13 one-hour episodes.

“It’s a huge deal for Starz, it really is a landmark occasion for us,” Starz Entertainment executive vice president of marketing Nancy McGee said. “We really wanted to give as many consumers as possible the opportunity to get a free sneak preview of the first couple of episodes — and what better way than on our affiliates’ platforms. We’re thrilled that they are as excited about this as we are. We have just about every affiliate partner that we do business with engaged in the sampling program.”

Starting Oct. 1, Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable (in Los Angeles), Mediacom Communications and Insight Communications will be offering the first two full-length episodes for free on demand, as will Verizon Communications’s FiOS TV.

DirecTV will air the first episode on The 101, the only linear sneak preview of the show. The second episode will be on The 101 the following week.

Comcast also will make the episodes available for streamed viewing at Fancast.com. In some markets, Cox plans a tie-in with Best Buy rebates for new Cox Digital Cable customers. Charter is tying in a sweepstakes with a home-entertainment system as the grand prize.

Best Buy will promote Crash in Sunday circulars on Sept. 28 and beginning that day will have 100,000 DVDs of the first two episodes to give away free with in-store or online purchases in the “TV on DVD” category.

Billboard, radio and print advertising will also be in the mix, McGee said. “You can’t look away” is the show’s tagline and will be featured prominently in print advertising and on television, she said.

Once Crash launches on Starz, it will be available day and date on Starz On Demand.

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