New York -- In a rare pay-per-view marketing partnership,
TVKO will handle the marketing and promotion of World Championship Wrestling events
beginning with the WCW's July PPV event.
The deal gives the already-successful WCW access to the
marketing resources of its sister PPV company, TVKO, which will now co-market wrestling
with its stable of boxing, concert and special events, said representatives from both
TVKO will now use its full-time staff of PPV marketing
executives -- who already contact operators on a daily basis about TVKO-related events --
to market the WCW's monthly PPV programs, and other special shows, said Mark Taffet,
senior vice president for TVKO. Both companies are owned by Time Warner Inc.
"This is a more effective use of our time and
resources and applying it to another Time Warner company to enhance its PPV buy-rates and
performance," Taffet said. "The cable industry will be a very big winner because
there will now be an increase in the breadth of the promotions that will result in more
revenue for the operators and the WCW."
Last year was arguably the most successful in the WCW's
short PPV history. The organization, which built itself on strong storylines and former
World Wrestling Federation stars, notched five of the top 10 highest performing events of
1997, said Jay Hassman, director of PPV for WCW.
Much of the WCW's marketing messages come out of its
popular and highly rated Monday Night Nitro and Thursday NightThunder shows
on Turner Network Television and TBS Superstation, respectively.
"This is taking an extra step as part of our own
marketing efforts," Hassman said. "It gives us a way to increase the in-market
promotional efforts that, combined with our TV promotional strength, can help us continue
to establish record-setting performances."
"The WCW will continue to use its television and
promotion power in combination with TVKO's marketing power in the PPV industry,"
Taffet added. "It's really a marketing tag team."
TVKO has a solid reputation among operators as a strong
marketer of its events; and, with five marketing executives in the field, it features one
of the largest staffs of any PPV distributor.
"I think it's a fantastic opportunity to take the
marketing expertise of TVKO and apply it to wrestling [shows], which have been our bread
and butter events for years," said Anne Carlson, director of marketing and PPV for
Time Warner Cable's San Antonio system. "I'm excited about the opportunity to put a
major marketing focus to see what we can really do with WCW events."
Dan York, manager for TVKO, said WCW affiliates can now
direct questions and marketing issues to TVKO's numerous field representatives.
Representatives from both sides denied that the partnership
will eventually lead toward the
co-promotion and development of other PPV shows. York added
that there are no plans to develop marketing incentives or discounts between TVKO and WCW
"The events will remain separate and distinct,"
he said. "There will be no packaging of events."