New York -- Shearing off from a proposed million-dollar,
studio-backed pay-per-view movie campaign, Warner Bros. said last week that it would
launch its own national PPV-marketing initiative.
Other studio executives said last week that they would
continue their efforts to create a national campaign for the PPV industry, regardless of
Warner Bros.' plans.
Warner Bros., which was initially in the coalition, now
plans to run a generic PPV television and print campaign in association with studio promos
for PPV titles.
The tag line -- "Movie Pay-Per-View -- All the Hits at
Your Fingertips" -- features an animated figure sitting in a lounge chair aiming a
remote control at a television set.
The PPV logo and tag line can be used in all PPV-movie
on-air and print advertisements, and it can be customized by systems and MSOs, the studio
Initially, the tag line will be used for all Warner Bros.
promos, but Warner Bros. Domestic Pay-TV, Cable and Network Features president Ed Bleier
said he hoped other studios and PPV distributors would adapt the format.
"We decided that we're pretty good promoters of
PPV, so we've taken this initiative to design a generic look that could be used by
the whole industry," Bleier said. "We'll provide the materials if [the
industry] wants to use it."
Warner Bros.' actions dealt a blow to Hollywood's
efforts to develop a cohesive national PPV brand.
The coalition, initially including eight studios, was
formed in early 1998 to create a campaign that would for the first time promote the
PPV-movie business on a national scale and create a formidable entertainment brand.
The coalition expects to hire several major Hollywood stars
to tout PPV through spot ads and other promotional materials.
But sources close to the situation said the studios have
been unable to agree on the amount of funding needed, and they also disagree on creative
Bleier said Warner Bros. worked with the consortium for
more than one year to formulate a plan of action for promoting PPV movies. But after
failing to reach a consensus, it decided to move ahead with its plans.
Executives familiar with the consortium said the schism
would not deter them. One studio executive said that once the full details of the campaign
were developed, Warner Bros. would likely rejoin the effort.
"When it's all said and done, they'll be
back in with us," that executive added.
Another studio executive wanted to hear Warner Bros.'
plan, but remained committed to the original consortium.
"I applaud anything that people are trying to do to
market and promote PPV, and Warner has been one of the more aggressive studios to
accomplish that," that executive said, "but that doesn't change anything
concerning the consortium. We're going ahead as planned."
Viewer's Choice senior vice president of programming
Michael Klein applauded Warner Bros. for attempting to bring more awareness of the PPV
category, but he stopped short of saying the network would adopt the campaign.
He added that Viewer's Choice is working on its own
PPV national branding effort that would go beyond Warner Bros.' movie-specific
"We hope that once our national brand is rolled out,
it can be compatible with everyone and bring the PPV message to the cable consumer,"