Looking to rev up its marketing for the new year, Showtime will again offer up a big free preview weekend -- its biggest ever.
On January 11 and 12, Showtime will be available to 80 million multi-TV channel homes.
Viewers will be able to access season premieres of original series including "Shameless, "House of Lies," and "Californication." They can see the pay TV premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part I" and "The Iron Lady." They can also access full seasons of "Dexter" and "Homeland," among others. Showtime will also air boxing and mixed martial arts events during the weekend.
The network currently has 22 million ongoing subscribers and will be available to 58 million more, for one weekend only on Showtime, Showtime HD, Showtime On Demand and Showtime Anytime.
Showtime has had success with these free preview weekends in the past. Now with an Emmy-winning show like "Homeland," it could spur more interest.
Showtime has grown more than 75% from 2003, when it had 12.2 million subscribers. It added 2 million customers during the past year.
Showtime is estimated to achieve profit of $800 million a year next year, according to a Wall Street report. (Total CBS cable revenues -- a majority of which comes from Showtime -- were at $1.6 billion for 2011) This compares to HBO's $1.5 billion profit take per year. (HBO has some 30 million subscribers).