NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Showtime may have finally cracked the code on using Kindle as an ad medium. Starting today the cable network is offering Kindle users a free, downloadable version of the pilot script for its new series "Nurse Jackie," featuring Emmy Award winner and former "Sopranos" star Edie Falco.
Working with its media shop, Omnicom Group's OMD, Showtime will use banner ads throughout Amazon.com and on the Kindle storefront to promote the free download, which will be available until Aug. 31. Along with cover art and a title page, the script comes with show scheduling information and a call to action urging readers to visit Sho.com to watch the premiere of "Nurse Jackie."
"We were looking at the Kindle as a new concept platform that no one has figured out," said Jon Haber, U.S. director of OMD's Ignition Factory. "And while there is no advertising model on it yet, we still saw it as an opportunity to use our client's content as advertising."
The idea of using Kindle, a text-based electronic reader, to promote a TV show may seem odd, but it falls directly in line with Showtime's typical modus operandi when it comes to hyping a new series, said Stuart Zakim, VP-corporate public relations at Showtime.
"We try and use a new platform that no one else has used yet every time we introduce a new show," he said. "It's a value-added proposition to a media buy we have done with Amazon, but nevertheless the idea is still unique."
'Another avenue for sampling'
Mr. Zakim said Showtime has streamed pilot episodes of other series such as "Fat Actress" and used other sampling techniques for series such as "The Tudors" and "Californication." "This is a variation on a theme that has proven very successful for Showtime," he said. "We're a subscription-based business, and sampling is one of the key marketing tools we use to get people to view our shows, and Kindle provides another avenue for sampling opportunities."
The script will be available within the Kindle Store, which is accessible through the Kindle, iPhone and iPod Touch and at Amazon.com. The online component will lead users to a product page featuring a product overview and download details. The show will premiere on Showtime on June 8.
"Nobody has figured out what the future ad model for a device like the Kindle is going to be," OMD's Mr. Haber said. "And while this is not an ad per se, it's content, it is the first step in figuring out how marketers can use this platform and provide some value to consumers from a content standpoint while finding a way to raise awareness and buzz about a product, or in this case a TV show."
While Showtime is the first to use Kindle as an ad platform, media is no stranger to the device. A variety of mostly print-based media -- newspapers, magazines and blogs -- use Kindle as a distribution platform, charging subscription fees for the content. Amazon recently announced a large-format Kindle, which will be better for distributing textbooks and newspapers.