Bravo Using Web Store to Promo Series

Jan 30, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Ding-dong. Heidi Klum calling.

Bravo is betting its most popular shows will be as big hits on cellphones as they are on cable television.

The network this week is opening a mobile store on bravotv.com, the network’s home page, where fans will be able to download ringtones and wallpaper from its “Project Runway” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” series. A “Runway” fan will be able to hear Ms. Klum’s catchphrase “Are you in or out?” whenever someone calls.

For Bravo, “this is a first step,” said Jason Klarman, senior VP of marketing.

“We’re going to start looking at video and texting, really expanding,” he said.

The mobile store will be both a revenue-generating business and a promotional engine for Bravo, Mr. Klarman said.

Mr. Klarman said he couldn’t predict how many “Runway” fans would download a ringtone or wallpaper at $1.99 a pop, but he noted that about 50,000 “Runway” fans have signed up for the Fashion Face Off game on the Web site. “We expect it to do well,” he said.

The downloads will also help promote the shows. “Part of the way to create more excitement about the show is to give more people more opportunities and more platforms to enjoy the show,” Mr. Klarman said. “From that perspective it’s promotion, but it’s a going business.” Bravo is working with iLoop Mobile to provide the ringtones and wallpaper.

In its second season, “Runway” is hot. Less than two months into the season, ratings are already surpassed those of last year’s finale in some demographics.

That popularity has translated into Web traffic. The “Runway” site, which features video, blogs and games, has drawn more than 1 million unique users and some 30 million page views.

“Now it’s a true monetizable asset that is generating hundreds of thousands of dollars and hopefully more down the road” through advertising, Mr. Klarman said. “Now we need to see if they’re willing to spend some more dollars, if that obsession translates into ‘Yeah, I want the ringtone; yeah, I want the wallpaper.'”

Bravo is also using the Internet to promote its shows on sibling NBC Universal network NBC’s Olympic Web site. The cable network is creating vignettes featuring Bravo personalities including “Runway” judge Tim Gunn, who will review the fashions worn by Olympic participants.