NBCU Cable Puts ‘Polly’ On-Demand

Jul 25, 2004  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal Cable was set last week to release to the video-on-demand platform the Ben Stiller/Jennifer Aniston comedy “Along Came Polly,” with an added-value tie-in to what’s known as Movie Cash-certificates for movie theater tickets.

Customers who buy the movie on-demand will be able to redeem the purchase for a Movie Cash ticket to see Mr. Stiller’s “Meet The Fokkers,” the sequel to “Meet the Parents” that’s slated for a Dec. 22 release.

The way the promotion works is that at the end of “Along Came Polly” a message will detail how consumers can get the Movie Cash ticket by sending in the bill showing the on-demand purchase. “We put the burden on the consumer instead of the cable operator,” said Stacy Melle, VP, worldwide marketing, PPV and VOD, at NBC Universal Cable.

Such added-value tie-ins were a regular component of Universal’s on-demand marketing strategies for its movies before the merger with NBC and will continue, Ms. Melle said. For the “Cat in the Hat” release last spring, for instance, Universal offered a plush toy to consumers who watched the movie.

Consumers had to send in the bill containing the movie purchase to redeem the giveaway. Ms. Melle said such giveaways can help drive buy rates and added that its consumer research found that 25 percent of consumers said they were motivated to watch a movie on-demand because of the free gift associated with it.

While she would not disclose specific increases in buy rates because of such tie-ins, she said Universal has exceeded its revenue expectations for all the films in which it has offered a giveaway.

The promotions also help distinguish the on-demand platform from the home video market, Ms. Melle said. “We need to differentiate from the home video platform,” she said. “Our motivation is to provide a turnkey offering that cable operators can implement.”

Insight Systems Set Rentrak Trial

Video-on-demand measurement company Rentrak has partnered with Insight Communications to begin a trial of the Rentrak service across Insight’s 12 VOD systems. Rentrak’s software OnDemand Essentials tracks and measures specific VOD usage. The software will be used in all of Insight’s VOD systems.

Comcast said earlier this year that it plans to begin a Rentrak test shortly. Rentrak has been cited by advertising agencies and programmers as one of the front-runners to provide VOD measurement on a regular basis for the industry.