The changes at USA Networks Inc. just keep on coming. In
the latest move since Barry Diller formally took over the company last month, USA has
combined the distribution, sales and promotion divisions of USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel,
Home Shopping Network and America's Store.
The group will be headed by Douglas Holloway, USA's
executive vice president of distribution and affiliate relations.
Kay Koplovitz, chairman and CEO of USA Networks, described
the new structure as "the first network hybrid group," which, she said, would
provide increased marketing and revenue opportunities for the cable channels.
For example, she said, HSN will be able to provide
third-party transactional services for operators, such as handling pay-per-view business
and selling merchandise related to specific programming or sporting events.
She also cited USA's plans to use the
integrated-promotion approach in September, when the original Star Trek TV series
debuts on Sci-Fi. USA Networks plans to run a concurrent Star Trek movie marathon
on USA Network; to offer related merchandise on HSN and AS; to run a cross-channel
promotion across the four networks; and to run local contests for cable operators with
prizes from HSN.
Holloway asserted that the new setup would be "the
first time that a basic network group can provide such value to the cable operator."
The old Star Trek episodes on Sci-Fi will be
digitized and shown in 90-minute packages, and they will include footage never shown
before, as well as commentary from members of the original cast. Promotional materials for
the Star Trek package will be released to USA's field offices within four
USA Networks includes the former Universal Television
Studios (now USA Networks Studios) and USA Broadcasting, formerly Silver King