Encore Media Group LLC is trying to cozy up to potential
premium-movie customers by offering a free Starz!-branded fleece blanket to new
direct-broadcast satellite subscribers.
In a partnership with EchoStar Communications Corp. and
Sears Roebuck & Co. dubbed "Cozy Up to Hit Movies This Season," Encore will
send a blanket to new Dish Network customers who sign up for a four-channel Starz!/Encore
movie package at any of the 1,600 Sears stores across the country by the end of the year.
"People tend to hibernate a little bit this time of
year," said Suzanne Doss, Encore division vice president of new media. "The
timing is perfect."
The promotion also fits nicely into the fourth-quarter
holiday buying season, typically a strong sales period for consumer-electronics products
at retail. EchoStar currently has a deal of its own, offering new subscribers free Dish
Network hardware -- after rebate -- if they commit to a certain level of programming.
This marks the first national promotional campaign Encore
is running with Dish Network, although the premium service has conducted some with DirecTV
In a promotion with DirecTV and RadioShack earlier this
fall, Encore gave away a free denim jacket to new subscribers. The campaign was tied to
the network's debut of the hit movie The Water Boy.
The EchoStar campaign is not centered around a single
movie, Doss said.
"Retail is very important for us, especially with a
strong retail partner like Sears," Doss said. Strong retail point-of-purchase
displays can encourage new subscribers to sign up for premium movie services on the spot,
instead of waiting to make a purchase through the call center, she added.
"It's important for retail sales associates to
pitch the programming," Doss said. "That's why people are buying the
EchoStar and Encore plan to back the promotion with ads in USA
Today and Sunday newspaper circulars, as well as a 30-second in-store video.
Dish Networks offers Starz!, Starz Theater, Encore and
Westerns in its Starz!/Encore premium movie package.