Bravo said last week that it will launch a national
arts-advocacy campaign, and it wants support from local cable affiliates.
As part of the "Start Smart 2000" campaign, Bravo
will award monetary prizes to four local community groups and four individuals who have
made significant contributions in supporting the arts among school-age children.
All entrants must have the backing of a participating cable
operator, and any operator that carries Bravo can participate, according to Kathleen Dore,
president of Bravo Networks.
Dore suggested that affiliates in larger markets might want
to sponsor their own local arts-awards contest. "We'd like to make the program
as big and as visible as possible," she said.
Bravo created the public-affairs campaign last year, both
to generate additional interest in the programming niche that it serves and to help foster
the next generation of artists and successful citizens, Dore said. This is the first year
that the program is national in scope and the first when prizes will be awarded.
Last year, more than one-half of Time Warner Cable systems
participated in the program.
Tricia Tipping, public-affairs coordinator for Time Warner
Cable's Northeast Ohio division, said the operator ran the Start Smart program
throughout its entire division of 300,000 subscribers.
Time Warner held the art workshops for children in a
variety of venues -- including local street fairs, arts festivals and day-camp programs --
with the support of about 10 local organizations, Tipping said. At the workshops, Time
Warner and Bravo collected parents' signatures in a petition drive in support of arts
In Akron, Ohio, Bravo and Time Warner teamed up to sponsor
a community art project that combined 100,000 drawings by local schoolchildren into one
larger piece of art, which was completed by a commissioned artist.
The finished project was unveiled at a special event, which
also hosted local children's performing-arts groups, including ballet dancers and
"We taped all of this and showed it on our
local-origination channel," Tipping said. "The entire campaign was received by
the public with open arms."
Although Time Warner wasn't looking at Start Smart as
a sales opportunity, Tipping said, "it ended up raising awareness of the types of
programming that we offered. Several noncustomers became customers as a result of their
involvement with the workshops," she added, once they realized that cable wasn't
all news, cartoons and sports.
Smart Start 2000 is co-sponsored by Americans for the Arts. Operators are encouraged to
run celebrity public-service announcements heralding the arts as cross-channel promotions.