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Showtime Adds Subscribers With 'Weeds,' 'Dexter'

Original programs such as Emmy-nominated "Weeds" and "Dexter" have helped Showtime Networks retain subscribers during the recession. CBS-owned Showtime has more subscribers than it did two years ago, disproving concern that consumers would cut their premium-TV service because of the economy, says CEO Matthew Blank.

Showtime benefited because more viewers stayed home instead of spending money on vacations, Blank says. To build brand awareness, the network sold shows on iTunes. "Our hope is that somebody watches "Dexter" on iTunes and then says, 'Boy, I should subscribe to Showtime,'" Blank says.

Showtime currently has 16.5 million to 17 million subscribers. The network had about 13 million subscribers at the end of 2006, per CBS.



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