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Court’s New Outlook Hits Streets

7/14/2005 9:53 AM Eastern

Court TV will officially get serious about its dual-daypart strategy Monday.

The investigation channel will begin a blitz aimed at steeling the notion that it is one brand with differentiated programming in two different dayparts: “Court TV News” and “Seriously Entertaining.” The “multimedia, multimillion-dollar” effort is the largest in the network’s history, according to Court TV officials.

“The idea is for the campaign to communicate that there are two ways to look at Court TV,” general manager of programming and marketing Marc Juris said. “By day, it’s the legal-news network of record, with great coverage of trials and analysis. In primetime and on weekends, Court is an investigative entertainment channel that tells great stories.”

To distinguish the two, Court TV Monday at 9 a.m. will began tagging its daytime as Court TV News and the primetime and weekend fare as Seriously Entertaining, replete with new on-air looks and ID packages.

At this point, Juris said, the network does not intend to ask Nielsen Media Research to split ratings coverage of the service, a la Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite and Cartoon Network with its late-night “Adult Swim” block.

“We’re doing this to make the brand easier to navigate for viewers,” Juris said. “If we can make the programming resonate more with viewers, it will ultimately boost our ratings and advertising-sales efforts.”

In the second quarter, Court TV posted a 0.8 average in primetime, matching its prior-year performance. During the day, the network said it was the second-ranked cable-news network behind Fox News Channel among adults 18-49 and 25-54, averaging 132,000 and 159,000 of those viewers, respectively.

In addition to deploying its own on-air and online resources, Court TV will initiate a huge outdoor push in New York to promulgate the Seriously Entertaining tag line. The media plan calls for postings and billboards, as well as 77 wrapped phone kiosks, or 89% of those available in the market, plus 479 vertical phone kiosks.

Court TV hopes to catch New Yorkers where they eat and drink, with coffee sleeves (featuring “The Heat”), deli bags (“The Stash”) and street vendors (“Undercover” written on umbrellas), some of whom will be outfitted with aprons labeled as “The Witness,” “The Accomplice” and “The Alibi.”

Street decals, featuring the phrase “Perp Walk,” will also be in sight.

The network will also go mobile with taxi tops (600 cabs, 8% of those available); bus sides (600, 14% of those available); and bus tails (ditto). The words “Witness Relocation” will reside on bus sides, while the vehicles’ tails will read “Roadblock.”

“New York City allows us to use media wherever people walk and can be touched by messages,” Juris said, adding that Court TV would evaluate the outdoor campaign and could move some elements into other DMAs.

Following one month or more of Seriously Entertaining brand-building, senior vice president of marketing Mary Corigliano said, Court TV will begin leveraging the new daypart identity alongside tune-in efforts.

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