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Cox Southwest Systems Tee Up Winner

3/05/2000 7:00 PM Eastern

Cox Communications Inc. systems throughout the Southwest
have linked up for a joint promotion that they hope will earn them above-par ad dollars
and viewer devotion.

Cox CableRep Advertising in San Diego has launched a
half-hour show, From the Tee, which highlights local golf courses, products and
services.

The magazine-style show is now cablecast daily to 2 million
Cox homes in San Diego, Orange County and Santa Barbara, Calif.; Phoenix and Tucson,
Ariz.; and Las Vegas.

Recognition of the program is already "huge,"
said Leslie Talansky, marketing manager for CableRep in San Diego. Although it has only
been on six weeks, surveys indicated good recognition among local golf enthusiasts and a
loyal viewership.

It has some plumb channel assignments, inserted into The
Golf Channel in San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson and onto single-digit channels in Orange
County and Santa Barbara. Las Vegas slotted it on channel 48.

The project bloomed from a brainstorming session by
regional managers, who sought areas of joint interest. The Cox regions are blessed with
good weather and high-income homes. All have high tourism rates and major golf
destinations. And Southern California is home to some major golf vendors.

The show has already attracted viewership, but advertising
time has sold more slowly. Tom Stipes of WinningEdge Inc., who produces the show and sells
sponsorship, said that ultimately, From the Tee will have five partner sponsors,
guaranteed exclusivity for their product realm. To date, only General Motors Corp.'s Buick
division has bought in, he said.

Eventually, there will be four minutes of national
advertising per show, and one minute for local spots, he added.

The show did not launch fully sold partly because of
timing. It went on the air in late November, after ad agencies had fully committed their
budgets. Also, ad agencies don't commonly buy regions, opting for national or
market-specific spots.

So far, the venture has had little success selling the
major golf manufacturers in Southern California. "It's very competitive, and if you
picked the wrong partner, it could impair your editorial ability," Stipes said. The
shows don't often mention brand names, and manufacturers would have to be comfortable with
the fact that other equipment may be used or mentioned.

The five branded segments include "Prestigious Places
to Play"; "Play Better Golf," an instructional segment; "Innovations
of the Game," highlighting new technology, techniques and the Internet; "Inside
Pro Golf," the Buick-sponsored segment; and "Celebrity Profile with Ann
Liguori."

Currently, participating systems show an edition for two
weeks, then replace it with a new show.

There is also a Web site, fromthetee.com, where
computer users can call up archived segments or request more information. The volume of
posts on the site provides more encouragement that Cox has tapped a ripe market,
executives said.

 

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