Showtime expands early Emmy outreach

LOS ANGELES: To draw extra attention to its Emmy contenders, Showtime Networks has reached beyond the voting community to target the "third-party endorsers who drive traffic to watch."

LOS ANGELES: To draw extra attention to its Emmy contenders, Showtime Networks has reached beyond the voting community to target the "third-party endorsers who drive traffic to watch."

This year, Showtime sent nine full-season "for your consideration" DVDs of series including The Tudors, Dexter, Weeds, and Brotherhood not only to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' 12,000 Emmy-voting members, but also to "the major television critics and journalists across the country who handicap the Emmys," said Richard Licata, the network's EVP of corporate communications.

This all-encompassing strategy, Licata said, promises a much more informed group of voters, come nomination time. In terms of journalists, he said, it serves as a cue to "keep us in mind for handicap stories and features, kind of like a soft-sell that hopefully has a harder message to it."

This effort is an evolution of Showtime's previous beat-the-punch strategies, which began in 2005 when the network sent mailers touting its series Huff five months prior to nominations. Last year, Showtime expanded its early mailings to include DVDs of five different series. This year's outreach began in March.

Though Showtime reaches out to media "on an ongoing basis," Licata said, a significant new component of this year's outreach is the network's heightened focus on photo publicity.

To that end, Licata said, Showtime has established a microsite, CBSpressexpress.com/showtime/emmy/ where "editors can go [and] get the best photos for every single category."

As well as making coverage easier for journalists, Licata said, the enhanced media outreach can benefit viewers themselves. Generating press for Emmy-worthy shows serves as a "wonderful branding device, and an opportunity for the general public to be exposed to your programming," he noted. "Connecting with the public is probably paramount."

Still more industry influencers were exposed to the Tudors last Wednesday, Licata said, when the network inserted 30,000 DVDs of the series' final four episodes in Daily Variety, allowing magazine subscribers to see the season-one finale even before it airs.

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