Court TV Woos Movie Business

Oct 31, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Court TV is rolling out the red carpet for movie marketing executives.

The carpets are in the mail to about 300 people at the studios and ad agency personnel who work on the studios’ accounts, as is a message about how the channel can help launch theatrical releases.

Since separating its daytime trial coverage from its prime-time “Investigation Channel” programming led by “Forensic Files,” Court TV has seen its advertising from movie studios triple during the past three years, said Charlie Collier, executive VP, ad sales. So far this year, the category is up 50 percent, he said.

Movie business is attractive because it pays relatively high prices. “It’s good business for us,” Mr. Collier said. “They come in late. That’s one of the reasons they pay premiums.”

But he added the studios “tend to be creative” and are always looking for unique sponsorship opportunities.

Mr. Collier said movies are a good fit with Court TV’s new prime-time programming mix. “When you see the releases come out every week, there’s always a thriller, there’s always an investigative movie, so we knew we had those covered,” he said. “What is a bigger story is some of the other categories: family movies, comedies. We just tend to be able to drive people to the theater in the first couple of weeks after the release, which is what it’s all about.”

Court TV points to a spring MRI study that shows its viewers in the 18 to 49 demographic are 65 percent more likely to see a thriller than other TV viewers in that demo. They are also 58 percent more likely to see a crime movie, 54 percent more likely to see a comedy, 47 percent more likely to see an adventure movie and 44 percent more likely to see a comedy movie.

The survey showed that 69 percent of those Court TV viewers have attended a movie in the past six months, and a big chunk of them prefer to see movies within the first two weeks of opening weekend.

Court TV has also demonstrated a willingness to give studios opportunities to integrate their movies around the network’s programming.

Most recently, New Line ran the trailer for its Nov. 12 release “After the Sunset” on Court TV during an episode of the show “Masterminds” that featured a thief whose modus operandi was similar to that of the character played in the film by star Pierce Brosnan. New Line also was a key sponsor of Court TV’s “Mastermind” week.

“We do a lot of promotions with Court TV. They are very friendly to the movie studios and really come up with great platforms and programming to launch and cover films, said Robin Seidner D’Elia, VP of national television promotions and marketing at New Line.

In its new red-carpet pitch, Court TV is offering to do “theme weeks” of thematically related programming wrapped around an upcoming film release, with tune-in ads featuring the movie and in-program sponsorships to drive viewers to the sponsored programming stunt. Court TV has already done theme weeks with Paramount’s “Twisted” and Universal Pictures’ “The Bourne Supremacy.”

Another opportunity Court TV is offering studios is sponsorship of its Saturday Night Solution block. During the block, hosts Kristen Eykel and Dave Holmes talk about the sponsor’s theatrical or DVD release. Past sponsors include the DVD releases of 20th Century Fox’s “Man on Fire” and Universal’s “The Bourne Identity Explosive Extended Edition.”

Different Approaches

The network is also promoting opportunities during its daytime trial shows and its late-night show “Hollywood Heat.”

Mr. Collier said different studios have taken different approaches with the network. Some have made deals for multiple films, while others come in at the last moment, when their release plans are set.

He declined to say how much a studio had to commit to the network to buy one of the integrated packages. “Some studios have come in across multiple releases, and that’s been a different negotiation than when people come in one-off and a two-week burst,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a bigger partnership when we do a theme week or `A making of … ‘; it’s a smaller partnership when you sponsor some of the already-created elements in a `Hollywood Heat.”‘