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Sony Prepares SACD Promotional Boost

Sony Electronics is banding together with Rolling Stone magazine, Circuit City and Clear Channel radio stations in an SACD promotional campaign valued at $20 million.

The company is also launching a separate fall-season print-ad schedule to promote the format.

Both efforts are designed to boost awareness of SACD and the growing selection of SACD titles, which reached 967 in the United States during September and more than 1,500 titles worldwide, Sony said.

The Rolling Stone promotion includes a sweepstakes and a free hybrid, multichannel CD/SACD sampler disc, which will be attached to a six-page gatefold appearing in more than 1.3 million copies of the magazine going on sale Nov. 21. The disc will feature tracks from the albums selected by Rolling Stone for the issue’s cover theme, the Top 500 Albums of All Time.

Consumers who bring the sampler to Sony’s SACD listening stations in Circuit City stores will be entered in a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of more than 45,000 prizes, including SACD-equipped home theater Dream Systems and SACD titles.

Clear Channel will promote the sweepstakes in a Top 500 Albums of All Time special to be broadcast on more than 200 radio stations.

All told, Sony will probably be spending at least as much money on promoting SACD as it did last year during the same time period, said Bob Weissburg, president of Sony Consumer Sales.

The format “has now achieved mass-market success,” claimed David Kawakami, Sony Corp.’s SACD project director. He cited worldwide shipments of 600,000 discs in 17 days for Sting’s new release and 600,000 for Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” reissue in six months.

Lower disc pricing has also helped. During retail promotions, some discs have been advertised at $13.99 and $15.99, Sony said. The norm is $19 to $20 per disc.

U.S. SACD Availability