CW Tries to Break Away From Commercials

May 17, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The CW said it hopes not to sell any commercials in one of the new shows it plans to launch next fall.
At its upfront presentation for advertisers Thursday, the CW unveiled CW Now, a Sunday night entertainment show tracking trends for the network’s target audience, the 18-34 demographic.
Instead of commercials, the CW wants to support the show by integrating marketers into the show by sponsoring segments on specific topics, such as fashion, beauty or music.
The network said the content of the show would be editorially independent, but declined to say exactly how viewers would be able to tell whether a story about hot movie actors was influenced by a sponsorship by a specific studio.
“If it looks like a big commercial, it’s going to blow up on us and the advertiser,” said Bill Morningstar, head of ad sales for the CW. The number of advertisers in each show will be limited to about three.
The idea is one way the network is trying to accommodate advertisers looking for original ways to engage with viewers.
Last upfront, the network presented its idea of content wraps, episodic bits of sponsored programming that runs in commercial breaks over the course of an evening. The network expected to sell about 10 of those last year, but wound up doing 20, Mr. Morningstar said.
The CW also is planning to sell advertisers packages of 5-second spots it calls “cwickies.” The idea is to surprise viewers by using nontraditional commercial forms. An individual advertiser such as a movie studio would air three of the “cwickies,” either in a show or over the night, Mr. Morningstar said. After they air, the sponsor could have a longer-form payoff, such as a trailer.
Mr. Morningstar said the network has been discussing the new commercial forms since its development meetings in the fall and has received some interest in the idea.
(Editor: Horowitz)


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