Samsung, MSOs Launch HD Initiative

Mar 22, 2004  •  Post A Comment

High-definition TV set maker Samsung and a coalition of eight cable operators have linked up to promote HDTV in a massive marketing campaign that will blanket leading Web sites and cable markets nationwide with the message that cable is the way to do HD.
The promotion, which began firing on all cylinders March 15, will run for at least 30 days and may be extended.
The eight multiple system operators include most of the heavyweights-Adelphia, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Insight, Mediacom and Time Warner Cable. Together they reach 95 percent of cable customers.
As part of the promotion, consumers can receive $100 off their cable bill when they buy an HD-enabled Samsung TV and sign up for HD cable. The offer is timed to coincide with the popular NCAA Basketball Tournament this month.
The campaign is necessary because of the mass of misinformation and confusion about HDTV, said Samsung’s Peter Weedfald, senior VP of strategic marketing and communications. “Someone needs to put a stake in the ground and demystify this HD format,” he said. Through the promotion, the partners intend to convey that cable is the easiest way to get the HD programming consumers want, including local broadcast channels.
The campaign consists of nationwide cable spots, national daily newspaper ads, a consumer education “microsite” at samsungusa.com/dtvguide/ and a colossal online campaign on 350 high-traffic sites, such as USAtoday.com, FoxNews.com, ESPN.com, Businessweek.com and NYTimes.com. Mr. Weedfald expects the promotion to result in about 1 billion impressions over the 30 days.

The partners wouldn’t put a price tag on the promotion but said it will cost tens of millions of dollars. The cost will be shared jointly. Through the CTAM MSO Marketer’s Council, the eight operators offered several consumer electronics set makers the opportunity to promote HDTVs and HDTV service via cable. Samsung was chosen because it emerged as the most aggressive, said Andy Addis, senior VP, marketing and new products, Comcast.
In fact, the campaign serves as a flag planting of sorts for Samsung. “We’ve earned the right to act like the leader in HD,” Mr. Weedfald said. That’s because its sales of digital TVs have more than doubled in the past year, and Samsung is now second in market share in digital TVs, up from sixth at the end of 2002. It leapfrogged Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Panasonic in the past year to claim 14 percent of the market, behind Sony’s commanding 30 percent share, he said.
While cable operators have joined forces to promote best practices for video-on-demand and to ease the process of switching providers when consumers move, the Samsung partnership marks the first time cablers are working together on a national marketing campaign of this scope, Mr. Addis said.
HD is available to more than 70 million homes over cable, according to the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.