Stations head back to school: Yale sponsorship and on-campus live shots

Apr 15, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Education is paying off for ABC affiliate WTNH-TV in Hartford.
The station has had success selling a project called “Making the Grade,” which includes segments on education that appear once a week in the 5 p.m. news as well as public service announcements.
“We have such unusual sponsors as Yale University. To our knowledge, Yale has never sponsored any television program other than this in its 300-year history,” said WTNH General Manager Hank Yaggi.
About 160 schools participate in a related program called “Schoolnet 8,” where a meteorologist from the station goes to a school and reports live on the noon news stories related to science from there. The segments are replayed during the 5 p.m. news.
LIN-owned WTNH produces vignettes for advertisers that give students tips on how to do better in school. Advertisers get video billboards tied to the vignettes. “Bayer Co., which makes Bayer Aspirin, they are a sponsor, so they’re stepping up and presenting themselves as corporate citizens,” Mr. Yaggi said. “It’s a subject that they can embrace. Their employees are delighted they’re doing it. There’s no product mentioned whatsoever.”
Rival CBS affiliate WFSB-TV has found its tie-ins in the family. “Because we’re a Meredith station and we have this great wealth of content from [Meredith Corp.-owned] magazines, we’ve done some great tie-ins with Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies Home Journal,” said WFSB-TV, General Manager Al Bova .
With the help of Better Homes and Gardens, the station produced a small magazine called Intelligent Kitchens, which has attracted advertisers such as Home Depot, which sponsors on-air vignettes on do-it-yourself projects. The mini-magazines, which are co-branded with WFSB, are put in polybags with Meredith magazines and distributed to subscribers in the market. Other co-produced magazines include the Smart Gardening Guide, with Better Homes and Gardens, and Back to School Guide and Guide to Raising Great Kids, with Ladies Home Journal.
“Advertisers can jump on the bandwagon-the advertisers are getting this mini-magazine, vignettes and Web site space,” Mr. Bova said. “This began for a couple years ago, and it’s really heated up.”
John Pastor, VP and media director at the Cronin and Co. ad agency in Glastonbury, Conn., said his clients are asking for a lot more sponsorships and video billboards. For example, his client, the Department of Public Health, entered into a partnership with WFSB to promote free mammography screenings for breast cancer to underinsured and uninsured women.
According to BIA Financial Network, Hartford TV revenues were $195.1 million in 2001 and are expected to be about $202.9 million in 2002.