ABC Asks Affils to Boost Promos

Sep 15, 2003  •  Post A Comment

ABC is asking its affiliates and its owned stations to contribute additional promo time to support one of the network’s most aggressive fall launch campaigns.
The death of ABC star John Ritter forced the cancellation of a closed-circuit presentation Friday in which ABC executives were scheduled to detail to affiliates the network’s fall launch plans. Topics were to include “doughnut promos” with which stations can promote their access programming as well as the network’s 8 p.m. shows, and the use of new graphics fed to affiliates two weeks ago.
Local affiliates contacted by TelevisionWeek were preparing to increase prime-time promotion.
“Ideally, if over the next few weeks you can double the amount of promo time you currently devote to the network on a regular basis, it would impact the success of the new network lineup,” said Deb McDermott, chairperson of the ABC Affiliate Association, in a recent letter to ABC affiliates.
“They always ask for a lot,” said one major-market station executive. “This is more than the average year.”
“I’m going to give them a lot,” said one midsize-market station owner. “The July books gave us the worst prime-time numbers in the histories of each of the stations. We are in desperate need.”
ABC started the 2002-03 season showing signs of momentum, particularly with some freshman comedies. But the network ended the season tied for third with CBS in the quest for 18- to 49-year-old viewers during prime time.
“The network is doing everything they can” to get its prime-time lineup off to a solid start, Ms. McDermott said.
“They have just asked for support from the affiliates. I don’t disagree with that,” she added.