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 LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The success of a new consumer electronics product depends on compatible, widely available, affordable hardware and programming. That was the lesson DSS(TM) (Digital Satellite System(TM)) associates United States Satellite Broadcasting (USSB) and Thomson Consumer Electronics/RCA learned by reviewing the marketing history of the introduction of home VCR technology in the early 1980s. To make sure hardware and programming offerings are as seamless as possible, USSB and RCA have agreed to jointly market DSS equipment and programming. RCA will be responsible for distributing USSB programming throughout its nationwide network of consumer electronics retailers.
 Initially launched as a convenience for consumers, VCR sales did not really take off until the supporting videotape rental market developed. Today VCR sales are in excess of 12 million units annually. What the videotape market is to the VCR, programming from USSB -- and DirecTv, a GM Hughes Electronics unit that offers a complementary DSS programming lineup will be to the sleek new three-piece RCA DSS home receiving equipment that goes on sale beginning in April.
 In fact, DSS goes two giant steps beyond the VCR/video rental industry. First, it allows consumer electronics dealers to sell the hardware and programming as a joint package, in the same retail setting. Just as important, RCA DSS equipment provides full, seamless access to both USSB and DirecTv programming.
 "We want to do everything right with DSS," said Stanley E. Hubbard, president and chief operating officer of USSB. "USSB and DirecTv previously agreed to share an entire system, guaranteeing there will absolutely not be any VHS/Beta-type technical compatibility problems between the two different DSS programming providers. The RCA DSS equipment handles both USSB and DirecTv programming with equal ease -- and consumers who subscribe to both services will be able to surf through USSB and DirecTv effortlessly with their RCA DSS interactive remote control."
 "I couldn't be more pleased with the fact that SHOWTIME and the entire array of USSB's 14-channel premium programming lineup will be sold at the same retail point of sale that the RCA equipment is sold," said Winston H. (Tony) Cox, chairman and chief executive officer of Showtime Networks Inc. "It provides a distribution channel for premium programming that we've never had before -- on the retail sales floor."
 "Packaging DSS hardware and software together makes the system more attractive to the customer," said Larry Carlson, president, HBO Satellite Services. "This is an innovative approach that should lead to great success in the DSS market."
 "We're looking to get DSS off to a quick start with consumers as possible," said Hubbard. "RCA has signed an historic agreement with us, in which they take on the responsibility of distributing USSB DSS programming throughout the entire national network of consumer electronics dealerships. That means that in VCR terms, there will be a Blockbuster(TM) store in every neighborhood the day DSS is introduced. DSS programming will be available immediately, conveniently and affordably to consumers when they purchase their RCA DSS home receiver equipment."
 With USSB, RCA dealers will be able to sell some of the hottest programming in America. "Now dealers will be in a position to sell their customers direct access to USSB's brand name television programming like multichannel HBO, SHOWTIME, The Movie Channel, Cinemax, and Flix, along with many other of America's most popular entertainment networks," said Hubbard. "Imagine the impact a sales representative can have when he or she can close a DSS home receiver hardware sale ($699 for the bias hardware package) with the additional kicker of providing on-the-spot subscription service to the largest selection of programming in the country from both DirecTv and USSB."
 RCA dealers can earn revenues on both the sale of RCA DSS home receiver equipment, including the sleek 18-inch diameter satellite dish, receiver and interactive remote control, and on the sale of the USSB DSS programming that supports the hardware. "Both products -- the hardware and the programming services -- are critical to DSS," said Hubbard. "The hardware is only valuable with the programming -- and the programming is only accessible through the hardware -- so by selling them together, retailers have a complete DSS package to offer customers."
 USSB combines some of the biggest names in television for its national DSS programming package, including the 14 "multiplexed" channels of SHOWTIME, HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel and Flix. USSB will also offer programming from Lifetime, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon/ Nick At Nite, MTV, VH-1 and All News Channel, through its Direct Broadcast Satellite service beginning in April, 1994.
 USSB programming subscription prices will range from $7.95 to $34.95 a month. Programming will be available nationally in a variety of monthly and annual subscription packages, priced and packaged to meet a wide range of DSS consumer needs and to complement DirecTv's program offerings.
 USSB is a subsidiary of Twin Cities-based Hubbard Broadcasting, one of the nation's pioneer broadcasting companies and owner of nine TV stations, two radio stations, two TV production companies and Conus Communications, which introduced satellite news-gathering to the broadcasting industry in 1984 and produces All News Channel in partnership with Viacom International Inc. In cooperation with DirecTv, USSB and RCA will roll out the nation's first Direct Broadcast Satellite service to the consumer in April, 1994.
 -0- 1/6/94
 /CONTACT: Steve Blum of USSB, 612-642-4666; or Susan Eilertsen, 612-371-5515, or Doug Hovelson, 612-371-5502, both of Bozell, for USSB/
CO: United States Satellite Broadcasting, Inc.; Hubbard Broadcasting;
 Thomson Consumer Electronics/RCA; Digital Satellite System
ST: Minnesota, Nevada

DB-CP -- MN016 -- 9956 01/06/94 18:13 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 6, 1994

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