Cable will get to offer the much-publicized, three-day
Woodstock '99 concert event on pay-per-view in July, but its last day will conflict
with a World Wrestling Federation PPV show.
Nevertheless, Woodstock '99's distributors --
Metropolitan Entertainment Group and Ogden Entertainment Co. -- and the WWF said the
scheduling conflict should not hurt PPV buys for their respective events.
But because of the conflict, Woodstock '99 will not
air on the widely distributed Viewer's Choice 1 channel, providing potential
distribution problems for operators with limited PPV channels.
The July 23 through 25 concert, marking Woodstock's 30th
anniversary, will be distributed via Viewer's Choice 2 and Viewer's Choice 5 to
avoid running into the scheduled July 25 WWF event, which will air on Viewer's Choice
Metropolitan senior vice president Jeff Rowland said that
by the time he was made aware of the scheduling conflict, it would have been too expensive
to shift dates for the show. Executives from the WWF also said moving its PPV event would
have been financially improbable.
"Wrestling is a very successful franchise for the PPV
industry, and they have a contractual deal with Viewer's Choice. So, for that reason,
we had to find ways to deal with the situation," Rowland said.
"We were able to reach a deal with Viewer's
Choice to find a solution that would make it economically viable for us to distribute the
event on PPV," he added.
The lack of exposure on Viewer's Choice's
highest-penetrated service limits Woodstock '99's potential audience. Only 23
million addressable households can access the two Viewer's Choice channels.
But Viewer's Choice senior vice president of
programming Michael Klein said he hopes to clear more systems for the event. Network
affiliates not carrying either of the two channels, but any other of Viewer's
Choice's channels, can pre-empt those channels for the concert.
"We're hopeful that we can get full carriage of
the event;" Klein said. "It's a big event for the PPV category, so
hopefully, operators will go out of their way to make sure that their subscribers can see
Rowland was also hopeful that operators will make the
necessary adjustments to carry the event. "I'm disappointed that we have the
[scheduling] problem, and at this point, I'm not satisfied with the current
clearance," he said. "But we're hoping to eventually reach the total PPV
DirecTV Inc. will distribute the event in its entirety.
While Media General Cable of Fairfax County, Va., will
carry both events, system PPV manager Ted Hodgins said the conflict could cause marketing
problems. "It creates the potential for system promotion of the two events," he
said. "It all depends on how the operators allot the marketing and promotional
The distribution alterations further complicate an already
logistically complex event.
The concert -- featuring Aerosmith, Willie Nelson, Red Hot
Chili Peppers, DMX, Ice Cube, Wyclef Jean and the Refugee Allstars, Alanis Morissette,
Jewel and Sheryl Crow -- will be sold on single-day and package bases, Rowland said.
Single-day buys will retail for $29.95, and the package price will be $59.95.
Nevertheless, the event has the potential to generate
significant revenue for the industry. Woodstock '94 was the most lucrative concert
event in PPV history, grossing more than $9 million.
"It's our expectation that we'll do better
this time around," Rowland said. "[Woodstock] is more than a concert, but a
generational phenomenon, and five years is enough time between events to reach a new
Meanwhile, the WWF doesn't believe that the
competition from Woodstock will hurt its July PPV event.
"Our fans will always find their way to our product on
PPV," said Jim Byrne, senior vice president of marketing for TitanSports Inc., which
owns the WWF. "PPV-programming diversity is good for everyone involved within