Court TV Puts Out the Welcome Mat

Dec 13, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Court TV is providing more evidence that it has become very advertiser-friendly on Saturday night.

The network, which has been running a hosted block called The Saturday Night Solution, is adding a new sponsored feature, “The Big Breakthrough.” Hershey has signed on as a sponsor of the new feature on behalf of its SmartZone nutrition bars.

“The Big Breakthrough” is a vignette that highlights a significant break in a case or a breakthrough in forensic technology related to the evening’s theme. A 10-second sponsor tag allows a sponsor to integrate its product and message into that evening’s breakthrough.

The 10-second spot is much less expensive than sponsoring an entire evening, allowing advertisers who need continuity to appear regularly. Hershey will sponsor “Breakthrough” for three straight Saturdays: Feb. 26, March 5 and March 12.

“It’s another way to stand out and a way for an advertiser to talk about his big breakthrough,” said Charlie Collier, executive VP of ad sales at Court TV.

Mr. Collier said The Saturday Night Solution, launched a year ago, is regularly sold out. “It’s been very successful for us, not just to bring personality to a night of shows but also obviously to allow us to showcase some marketing solutions within programming.”

Mr. Collier wouldn’t say how much Hershey is paying to sponsor The Big Breakthrough. “We’re being paid in Hershey’s Kisses,” Mr. Collier joked, adding, “there’s a commitment to a schedule across the network.”

Mr. Collier said he is not sure he’d want to do other hosted nights with product placement on the network because too much of a good thing might not be so good. “The beauty of good integration is you take care of the viewer while you take care of the advertiser. When we do that, everyone says it makes sense. When you don’t, that’s when you get the pushback,” he said.

To remind advertisers about the product placement opportunities on Court TV, and specifically on The Saturday Night Solution, Court TV has sent out 3,000 calendars. The calendar includes stickers featuring products, ranging from films to cars to cellphones to prescription bottles. Advertisers are invited to literally put their product on the picture of The Saturday Night Solution set that accompanies each month.

“Not only does [the calendar] reinforce what is obviously a very salable thing for us, it reflects a lot of the product placement opportunities in the show,” Mr. Collier said. “The stickers are fun. You can actually place products, as in `Your product here.”‘