Television’s major syndicators will meet next week with TV station creative services directors at the third annual PromaxBDA Station Summit, sharing promotional plans and trying to whip up some of that enthusiasm for their new offerings including CBS Television Distribution’s Arsenio Hall and Bethenny from Warner Bros.
Syndicators Rally Stations With Promo Plans
To some extent the success of a syndicated show depends on the TV stations carrying it. If their creative services departments get behind the show and enthusiastically promote it, it stands a much better chance of attracting audience and advertising revenue.
With that in mind, the major syndicators will meet next week with creative services directors from around the country at the third annual PromaxBDA Station Summit in Las Vegas, sharing promotional plans and trying to whip up some of that enthusiasm.
And some of the top syndication talent will be there to make direct appeals for support. Mehmet Oz of Sony’s Dr. Oz will lead attendees on a 5K run on Wednesday. Arsenio Hall will host a cocktail party for stations that are carrying his new latenight talk show from CBS Television Distribution.
Bethenny Frankel from Warner Bros.’ Bethenny will talk to stations about her new talk show. And Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan will sit for questions about Twentieth Television’s popular off-network sitcom.
Here’s a syndicator-by-syndicator preview of some of the promo plans:
CBS Television Distribution
CBS has two new shows it’s promoting this summer. The higher profile of the two is Arsenio Hall, which is cleared in major markets on Tribune stations.
CBS is turning to Arsenio Hall himself to get the word out with movie-style trailers and personal appearances.
“One thing we are doing is working with each Tribune station … and pairing up with radio stations that will work with us on promotions,” says Michael Mischler, EVP of marketing at CBS Television Distribution. “We want to get into different formats of music. Arsenio will have everything from hip-hop to pop music to country on his show.”
On June 11, for example, Hall was a guest on Tribune’s WGN-AM show Mike McConnell. He did interviews with the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. He was on Tribune’s CW affiliate’s WGN Morning News. He also attended a Cubs game where he threw out the first pitch and led the crowd in singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh inning stretch — a special Chicago honor.
Hall is making similar stops in other Tribune markets including San Diego and Dallas. “It will go right up to the September premiere,” says Jessica Bellucci, director of communications at Tribune Broadcasting. “Arsenio is a very high-profile show for us.”
Mischler says that Hall will virtually visit 11 other ballparks this summer. “If you are familiar with the kiss-cam, we’ll have the woof-cam. Arsenio will talk to the audience. He’ll get them woofing it up for the home team.”
CBS has been giving stations promotional spots for months. “In December, we gave stations a :30 and a :60,” Mischler says. “They ran it all through December and January to the point we said, ‘It is time to take it off the air.’”
Meantime, CBS is using a straightforward strategy for conflict show The Test, which will also air on Tribune stations. It will have promos for stations to air during conflict-talk blocks. The Test’s host Kirk Fox is expected to do some local market appearances when he’s on break from taping, which is already underway.
NBC Television Distribution is ramping up promotion for the second season of Steve Harvey, a surprise hit this seaon that has already been renewed through 2015-16.
Starting in late July, stations will have on-air promos that Harvey taped inside his Chicago studio and on the city’s streets.
“The spots are high energy and highlight Steve’s relatable and funny personality,” says Donna Mills, SVP of marketing and affiliate relations at NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution. “We licensed some popular music that we think will give the spots some extra buzz.”
She says stations carrying the show will decide when and where to air those spots.
“They are the brand ambassadors,” Mills says. “We give them the assets and they promote the heck out of the show in places that make sense in their market.”
NBC will also kick off an off-air ad campaign in July that includes cable TV, radio, online and outdoor billboards.
Trifecta is distributing American Media Inc.’s and Unconventional Partners’ newsmagazine OK! TV with a slew of promotions tied into AMI’s magazine titles. That will include a tune-in banner around the print issue of OK! the week before the show’s fall debut. There will also be weekly editorial content inside AMI publications including OK!, Shape, Men’s Fitness and National Enquirer.
“We’ll be reaching over 55 million readers per month,” says David Bulhack, Trifecta VP of sales.
AMI publications’ websites will have banner ads co-branded with stations carrying the show. The mobile app will be co-branded with stations. And AMI is planning to create local market events ahead of the series premiere.
“We will be creating custom OK! TV content for stations’ local morning shows and news,” Bulhack adds. “We have created a weekly OK! TV vignette with entertainment news that local stations can sponsor. That will help incubate the show as well as promote tune in. It launches over the summer.”
Twentieth Television will debut five off-network shows this fall, including Fox’s Glee. But none is bigger than Modern Family, primetime TV’s No. 2 comedy this past season.
“Modern Family is a very important franchise for our stations,” says Richard DuMont, SVP of marketing at Twentieth Television. “We want to give our stations ownership of Modern Family. We are creating customizable materials that will allow them to do that. We will give them opportunities to weave their stations’ talent into the promos.”
Some cast members may make local station visits and appear via satellite with local morning news programs. The ABC sitcom has an ensemble cast led by Ed O’Neill.
During his Q&A at the summit, co-creator Steven Levitan will talk about a contest stations can use to promote the show. He may also unveil some of the show’s on-air promos.
“Modern Family will be on [in] very important time periods,” DuMont says. “So, it will get the same amount of on-air time as major franchises warrant.”
Bethenny, from executive producer Ellen DeGeneres and distributor Warner Bros., has a lot going for it as it preps for its September debut, most notably a host who has a built-in audience of female fans from her reality show Real Housewives of New York City, her books, her Skinnygirl line of drinks and frequent appearances on Ellen.
The promo strategy for the Telepictures-produced show is to tap into host Bethenny Frankel’s popularity, according to Blake Bryant, SVP marketing at Telepictures Productions and Susan Kantor, EVP of marketing at Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
One promo, “Bethenny’s Back,” aired during Fox’s American Idol season finale on some Fox stations. And another, in which DeGeneres scares her, was previewed on Ellen earlier this month.
At the summit, Warner Bros. will share plans with Bethenny stations about an upcoming multi-market event that the syndicator says will be “huge and awesome.”
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