Programming

Showtime, Brightcove to Take Emmy Awards Screening Online

Premium Cable Network to Avoid Mailing DVDs 1/31/2008 02:50:00 AM Eastern

Showtime is pushing a green angle for its Emmy Awards campaigning this year, ditching the boatloads of DVD screeners it usually sends out to voters in favor of streamed episodes online.

stack of DVDs

The network is pairing with Internet-TV company Brightcove to give members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences access to 82 original episodes of series including Weeds and Dexter online, rather than sending out the some 20 DVDs it has in the past.

The network will mail out just three DVDs along with a brochure this year instead, saving tens of thousands of dollars, executives said.

“This was convenient, it was green, it was economical,” executive vice president of corporate communications Rich Licata said. “This makes it very easy to put nothing in landfills.”

Over the years, public-relations executives from networks across the dial have waged increasingly showy -- and pricey -- mailing campaigns to get their shows noticed by Emmy voters. The 2006 DVD package from Fox’s House, for example, was mailed with an IV transfusion bag filled with a blood-like liquid, while The CW’s Everyone Hates Chris DVDs were packaged in large milk cartons like those sold in elementary-school cafeterias.

Starting Feb. 15, voting members of the Academy will get personal access codes to see current full seasons of Showtime’s Weeds, Dexter, Brotherhood, Californication and The L Word, as well as yet-to-premiere shows including Tracey Ullman’s State of the Unionand season two of The Tudors.

The campaign is part of a bigger corporate partnership between Showtime and Brightcove, which also recently relaunched the pay cable network’s consumer Web site, Sho.com, to include more advertising in its online video and more prominently display that short-form video throughout the site.

Licata, a veteran of Emmy campaigns, has done such work for HBO, Fox, FX, USA Network and PR firm Rogers & Cowen before Showtime.

He spearheaded Showtime’s 2005 Emmy campaign for Huff -- the first to send a full series on DVD to the some 13,000 academy members as early as February -- and helped to earn it seven nominations and two awards despite the fact that few actually watched the show on TV.

March