Warner Bros. will venture into the pay-per-view music-event
business with the distribution of a May PPV concert featuring pop/rock group Matchbox 20.
The show -- which includes footage of the group's
Australian tour, as well as other on-tour footage -- will premiere May 1 and retail at a
suggested price of $17.95, said Lee Stimmel, vice president of marketing for Atlantic
Records, Matchbox 20's record label. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to an
The event will mark the group's first and only major
television appearance this year, and it is expected to help reach the group's core
fan base in the 12-to-45 age range. Matchbox 20's Yourself or Someone Like You
album has sold more than 8 million copies.
"We wanted to document these guys and give their fans
something special and different," Stimmel said. "We thought that PPV would be a
good avenue to provide additional exposure."
Atlantic was impressed with the industry's
PPV-marketing infrastructure for events, particularly with past music events such as
Showtime Event Television's Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys concerts.
"We're really seeing that the audience is open to
paying a lower-priced ticket to watch concerts on PPV. The event price is similar to a CD
[compact disc], but it cost less than a concert ticket," Stimmel said. "And,
we're seeing that cable operators are willing to market [music events] to that
Also, Atlantic's sister relationship with Warner Bros.
-- Time Warner Inc. owns both companies -- provided marketing and distribution synergies
that both companies could use. Along with distributing PPV movies, Warner Bros. also
distributes weekly and monthly music shows to Telemundo, VH1, PBS and DirecTV Inc.
"This is a natural extension of our businesses,"
said Eric Frankel, executive vice president of marketing, domestic features and pay TV for
Warner Bros. "It only makes sense that we would distribute the event."
Atlantic will put together an "aggressive" radio
ad campaign for the show, as well as a major in-store marketing promotion within several
music retail outlets, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and The Wiz, Stimmel said.
The concert will also have a major presence on the
Internet. Atlantic will tout the event on its own site, as well as on the Matchbox 20 Web
site, Stimmel said. Well after its PPV debut, the concert could also be offered via the
Web for the same price as the PPV event, he added.
In addition, the group will participate in an online chat
on Atlantic's Web site to promote the PPV show, Stimmel said.
While both Atlantic and Warner Bros. are hoping that the
event is a financial success, Stimmel said he hopes that the concert will help to extend
awareness of Matchbox 20 beyond its core audience. "We want this to be successful
[financially], but it's a marketing platform for the band," he said.
"We would be happy to get a strong buy-rate and see a
50,000-buy bump in record sales over a three-week period during and after the event,"
Frankel said. "I think that the event will be one of the top five PPV-music shows of