Who Media Moguls
Sigel, James (N-CSC)
james.sigel at lmco.com
Mon Mar 21 16:28:30 CST 2005
NEW YORK - The Who set the standard.
Not for rock 'n' roll - for television advertising sales presentations.
When Pete Townshend (news
links&p=%22Pete%20Townshend%22&c=&n=20&yn=c&c=news&cs=nw> ) and Roger
links&p=%22Roger%20Daltrey%22&c=&n=20&yn=c&c=news&cs=nw> ) took the
stage at Carnegie Hall last May to bring CBS's sales job to a rocking
climax, it raised the bar of expectations for Madison Avenue.
Already this spring, the Turner Entertainment networks are giving ad
buyers a free concert by The Eagles. CNN Headline News is touting its
new prime-time format with a private show by the Wallflowers.
Nickelodeon hired the Flaming Lips for a few songs at its sales
presentation two weeks ago.
Spring is "upfront" season on Madison Avenue, when TV networks invite ad
buyers and their clients to glitzy presentations on their programming
plans. The idea is to get them to commit to millions of dollars worth of
ads for the upcoming season - to spend money upfront, in other words.
Network executives want advertisers to feel good - about their plans,
and in general. CBS obviously believed it was worth the expense of
hiring the Who so ad buyers could walk out of Carnegie Hall buzzing -
before being bused to a CBS party at Tavern on the Green.
"We are in the entertainment business and it's our job to present our
brand in the most entertaining way possible," said Steve Koonin, TBS
chief executive. "We've got to say thank you to our advertisers for
their support and one of the ways we say thank you is by creating a fun,
Turner is renting out The Theater at Madison Square Garden for the
Eagles, who normally charge hundreds of dollars for a concert ticket.
Turner's bill will end up in the seven-figure range.
Until a few years ago, only the big broadcast networks put on such
shows. But now cable networks are competing aggressively for attention
and ad dollars, ratcheting up the stakes.
Even The Weather Channel took out the checkbook: a few weeks ago it flew
advertising executives to an ice hotel in Quebec, and treated them to an
afternoon of ice sculpting and snowboarding.
With some 30 presentations between now and the mid-May week when all the
broadcast networks are onstage, the cable networks need to do something
to stand out, said Harry Keeshan, executive vice president for national
broadcast at the PHD ad agency.
Without something flashy, a network might not even get people to attend
their sales presentations, he said.
Sorting through his mail as he talked, Keeshan opened a singing card
from Lifetime inviting him to that network's upfront.
In a few years, it may be a singing telegram. Delivered by Barbra
links&p=%22Barbra%20Streisand%22&c=&n=20&yn=c&c=news&cs=nw> ), perhaps?
Jim in Colorado
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