A&E Network has been active this month, debuting a new
on-air look to match a national branding campaign; signing a deal with DoubleClick Inc. to
rep its online division; and inviting a number of cable operators from around the country
to come to New York for a "Community-Affairs Summit."
Brooke Johnson, executive vice president and general
manager of A&E, said the network had not changed its on-air look "in at least
four to five years," and it wanted to integrate a new visual look with its
"Escape the Ordinary" branding campaign, budgeted at several million dollars,
which began early in the year.
"We wanted to convey a sense that our kind of TV is
more involving, challenging and intellectually interesting," Johnson said. "We
did a lot of focus-group research, and we believe that this will be an essential
complement to our ongoing campaign.'
On-air promotion spots for Biography, "A&E
Literary Collection" and "Mysteries to Die for" were created by Stan
Dragoti, who directed such films as Mr. Mom and Love at First Bite. Those
shows -- along with The Unexplained, L.A. Detective and Treasures --
will have new show openings, and there will be a new on-air look for the network's
A&E also reached out to a number of local affiliates
last week, inviting representatives from eight MSOs to New York to discuss local
community-outreach initiatives and possible roles for A&E and The History Channel.
"We feel that getting together to discuss the issues
and to find out what works best for them will enhance our marketing efforts," said
Libby Haight O'Connell, who oversees community marketing for both networks.
Mike Smith, director of field communications for
Tele-Communications Inc., said A&E's Community Affairs Summit marked the first
time that he can remember a network inviting operators for such detailed input. "In
my experience," he said, "we have not had this kind of entree."
A&E's initiative, he continued, was
"appreciated by those of us who have systems with little or no manpower," and it
will "ultimately bring about benefits on both sides of the aisle."
Moving from the field to the Internet, A&E signed
DoubleClick to be the exclusive online-media ad-rep firm for AandE.com, Biography.com and
HistoryChannel.com. The three sites will be sold individually and as part of the
DoubleClick "News and Culture" category.
Todd Tarpley, director of new media for A&E Television
Networks, cited "an overwhelming number of advertising opportunities now available on
the Web" and DoubleClick's "proven track record as an industry