After reaching a temporary agreement with Viewer's Choice
for distribution of three studio films, Warner Bros. last week said it will offer an
extensive pay-per-view promotion valued at $1 million for the film Contact.
Viewer's Choice will distribute three Warner Bros. titles
-- Contact, Conspiracy Theory and Fire Down Below -- in March,
following a temporary licensing agreement reached by the two parties two weeks ago. Warner
Bros. withheld the films from Viewer's Choice after failing to reach a carriage deal that
would have provided Warner with a greater share of incremental PPV movie revenues in a
digital, near-video-on-demand environment.
Neither party would comment on the deal, but sources close
to the situation said that the agreement only includes those three titles. The two sides
would have to sit down and work out a long-term deal for future Warner titles.
One of the provisions is that Viewer's Choice will receive Contact,
Conspiracy Theory and Fire Down Below 30 to 45 days after all other PPV
movie distributors, including DirecTv and Request Television.
On the heels of the deal, Warner Bros. announced a major
marketing push for Contact.
The PPV debut of the film, which grossed $100 million at
the box office, will be supported by a full-color, national print campaign in such
publications as People and Time, TV Guide, USA Today,The
New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. In
addition, the studio will take out local newspaper displays in Boston, Chicago, Denver,
Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Also, Warner will run radio ads, including spot and metro
traffic sponsorship, in selected markets.
'Warner Bros.' support ensures that Contact will be
heavily promoted nationally and in major markets,' said Ed Bleier, president of Warner
Bros.' domestic pay TV, cable and network features, in a prepared statement. 'We expect
February will be Warner Bros. PPV's best month ever, with three strong movies featuring
five of the biggest stars.'