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Ownership and Conglomeration

Showtime is a subscription-based cable television network that is owned and operated by Showtime Networks, Inc (SNI). SNI was created in 1976, when Viacom, Inc decided to create its own subscription-based cable television network in the mold of Home Box Office. Viacom was once a part of the CBS Corporation, but spun off in 1971 as a syndication company due to anti-trust concerns. Showtime began airing on a few cable systems in California in 1976, and was launched nationally in 1978. In 1983 in a joint venture between Viacom International, Warner Communications, and the American Express Company, SNI merged with The Movie Channel (TMC) to form Showtime/ The Movie Channel, Inc. The three companies owned 50 percent, 40.5 percent, and 9.5 percent respectively. In that same year, SNI bought a cable service signed a 5 year $500 million deal that gave it exclusive rights to air movies produced by Paramount Pictures. SNI also purches a small cable service called Spotlight for about $40 million.

In 1989, Viacom sued Time Inc, the owner of HBO, alleging that Showtime had been kept out of the cable line up due to antitrust violations of the cable companies. A settlement was reached in 1992, that resulted in increased placement of SNI's offerings on Time's cable systems. In addition, SNI and HBO would work together on joint marketing campaigns.


Partnerships with Other Companies

Branding Strategies

Showtime has had several slogans since its start. Currently its slogan is TV. At Its Best. This slogan is part of Showtime's brand and identity along with its abbreviation, the capital SHO. Showtime is also known for the content of its shows. AdFreak says that "Showtime knows what you really want: porn, weed, and violent psychos." Its shows incorporate all these ideas as in Dexter, Californication, and Weeds, thus they are part of Showtime's brand.

Roles in Production/ Distribution/ Transmission

Scheduling and Promotional Techniques

Showtime does its scheduling based on who will be watching. Showtime tends to run its new episodes of shows at night, when most people are home from work. Friday nights are generally filled with reruns and late night movies, while Sunday nights are full of new episodes for Showtime's top shows. [1]

Showtime also works with other companies to promote their channel. For example, Showtime and iTunes are working together and offering a $25 iTunes gift card when a customer orders Showtime.


There is also a Showtime app for iPhones and iTouches which allows users to stay updated with Showtimes news and shows. 


Signature Programming and Genre Trends

Showtime produces edgy original programming with the hopes of drawing critical acclaim and media hype.  Showtime's major competitor in this business model is HBO, another cable network.  In years past HBO has dominated the attention of fans and critics alike, but with the series finale of "The Sopranos" in 2007 Showtime took the opportunity to raise its reputation with the premiere of "Weeds." Since then, Showtime has produced many critically acclaimed shows and has a reputation for being a strong creative force in television.  Ira Glass, host and executive producer of Showtime's documentary "This American Life," says that executives at Showtime were "explicit in saying where they are in their business plan is that they were trying to change the way people perceive them...and the most important thing is that people know this is happening."


Advertising Strategies

Specific Target Audiences

Showtime targets a number of different audiences. It offers a wide variety of shows that appeal to many different demographics, although it does not supply much in the way of children's programming. For example, a typical Friday lineup. 

7:15AM- Nursery University
An amusingly eye-opening documentary about the rabidly competitive lengths that parents on the Upper East Side of Manhattan will go to in an effort to secure the "right" (meaning prestigious and expensive) preschool for their children.[1]
This show is clearly aimed at parents and is early enough for the average worker to watch before work.  

Later on in the day,

Inside The NFL: 04 10-11
SHOWTIME Sports brings you the Emmy Award winning pro football analysis series. Host James Brown and acclaimed analysts Cris Collinsworth, Phil Simms and Warren Sapp break down every game, every breaking news story and break through the clutter of football highlight programs - new episodes every Wednesday at 9 PM ET/PT during the NFL season.[2]
Definitely aimed at football watchers, probably a wide range of ages, but definitely males. It’s prepping for the big NFL weekend, and maybe analyzing the Thursday night games. This is a show that might be turned on at work, or during lunch hours.

And to end the day,

Halloween II (2009)
It's nearly Halloween again and the terrorized Laurie Strode awaits the dreaded return of her murderous brother Michael in this sequel remake starring Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell and Taylor Mane.[3]

This movie would appeal to an entirely different audience than the previous two shows. It is probably watched by a younger demographic, and lovers of horror, as opposed to football and reality TV.

Related Channels