Companies Want To Take TV Into Uncharted Territory

A Florida direct-marketing firm wants to bring television to places it’s never been before: commercial establishments that can’t get cable for one reason or another.

P.R. Specialists Inc./Servitrust Corp. of Margate, Fla., is about to launch a campaign to sell satellite TV programming to places where cable service may not be available or be too expensive to get for infrastructure reasons. COO Lawrence Ruden says the company believes a lot of places that don’t have TV would want it – places like a customer waiting room at a doctor’s office or auto repair shop, a gym, or a business office or employee breakroom.

“Since 9/11, a lot of people who didn’t have access to a television [at work], they found they were out of touch, that a lot of people wanted news,” Ruden says, adding that the company will also be offering the services to business offices that might want access to news and financial channels like CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC.

Ruden’s company specializes in direct-marketing and fulfillment services firm that provides inbound and outbound call centers, primarily through independent centers in foreign countries like India. This is their first foray into providing TV services, through Riley, N.C.-based EVE Creative Marketing Services Inc. and satellite TV provider DISH Network.

Debbie Jenkins, a consultant for P.R. Specialists, says that some office buildings or businesses are in rural areas or places that aren’t served by cable. Or it might be too cost-prohibitive to get cable TV. The company knows that firsthand, as their Florida office is in a building that the owner said would cost up to $15,000 to connect the building with a lot of ripped up pavement and other challenges.

“If cable is not available or not in a building, that’s our prime market,” Ruden says.

EVE Creative Marketing Services couldn’t be reached for comment, but a DISH Network spokesman says the satellite channel provider’s services are sold by a company-owned division to commercial establishments like hotels, restaurants and bars. There are a wide range of commercial packages. There are more than 7.4 million DISH Network subscribers but the spokesman declined to tell how many were commercial. There are also thousands of DISH Network resellers throughout the company but it isn’t clear how many, like EVE Creative Marketing Services and Servitrust, have focused on the commercial market. The spokesman says the company doesn’t have that information readily available.

Ruden says their service will include three packages including news, financial, entertainment and local programming. It’s not designed to be used in a sports bar or restaurant where a wide range of exclusive sports programming is crucial.

“That’s not the strength of this package,” he says.

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