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CBS Affils Discuss NAB, Promos

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The affiliate meeting in Las Vegas was awash in talk about the National Association of Broadcasters, CBS’ promotional campaign, digital plans, regulation and the network’s fall lineup. Among the news heard at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas:
Unconfirmed reports that CBS is in discussions to rejoin the National Association of Broadcasters, the leading trade organization, after six years, is welcomed by the affiliates. “Broadcasters need a coalition on the Hill,” said Dave Lougee, executive VP of Belo Media Operations, attending his first CBS affiliate meeting.
CBS’ John Orlando, Washington senior VP, urged the affiliates to consider many brewing regulatory issues as First Amendment and local fights, whether the question is about content or advertising of pharmaceutical products or so-called unhealthy foods. “Every attack on advertising is an attack on the foundation of our industry,” he said.
Mr. Orlando also urged affiliates to continue to run public service announcements that remind viewers they can prevent objectionable programming from coming into their homes. Even if the 18-month, $300 million campaign doesn’t sway the regulatory mood, proof of carriage will be “invaluable” in the inevitable court battles, he said.
CBS Marketing Group President George Schweitzer and Senior VP and Creative Director Ron Scalera previewed their 2007-08 promotional campaign, whose elements range from the downright traditional (a new on-air look) to the most trendy (a “buzz marketing” campaign designed to influence the influencers, the 15 percent of people and outlets that determine what the rest of us watch, listen and talk about).
Under the “CBS Outernet” plan, every possible real and virtual square inch of digital surface will be considered for promotional spots. Under a deal with TiVo, when a subscriber deletes a recorded show, a promo for CBS’ fall lineup, which includes five new series, will pop up. CBS also has purchased space on TV Guide’s navigator—some of which affiliates can rent. Everything is “a marketing device to drive people to one place: your air,” Mr. Schweitzer said.
Network and affiliate executives expressed quiet confidence about the CBS lineup, which on four out of five weeknights does a better job of delivering the most productive 10 o’clock lead-in to late local newscasts than do ABC’s and NBC’s lineups.
Affiliates laughed raucously throughout the screening of the pilot for “The Big Bang Theory,” the new Monday night comedy from Chuck Lorre about one beauty living next door to two geeks, and seemed intrigued by “Viva Laughlin,” the Sunday night hour that’s a drama with music about a man trying to live the American dream in a gambling town in Nevada.

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