Bravo -- which began its first local-sales push with the
3.1 million-subscriber Adlink interconnect in Los Angeles in April -- will roll out avails
to another 6 million homes via 17 systems and interconnects as of June 7.
Last fall, the network doubled its network commercial load
to eight minutes per hour, doing away with its previous limited-sponsorship model.
Affiliates will now get two local minutes per hour to sell.
Bravo believes this 9 million-subscriber start gives it the
largest local sales launch in cable history, a spokeswoman said.
Gregg Hill, Bravo Networks' executive vice president of
affiliate sales and marketing, who is spearheading the local sales initiative, said the
June launches include Greater Boston Cable Advertising (the Boston interconnect),
Cablevision Systems Corp. and MediaOne Group Inc., all in Boston.
Others include Cox Communications Inc. in San Diego,
Charter Communications in Phoenix and Comcast Corp. in Indianapolis.
To celebrate this rollout, Hill will host a breakfast June
7 at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Local Cable Sales Management Conference in
For Bravo -- which recently held its first network upfront
presentation -- this will in effect be its "local upfront," he said.
Moreover, Bravo -- which is projecting 40 million
subscribers by the end of May, up from 38 million in January -- should be inserted for
local sale by operators and interconnects reaching nearly 15 million of those homes by
year's end, Hill estimated.
Besides Adlink, Hill said, GBCA (1.5 million subscribers)
and Cable Advertising of Metro Atlanta (1 million) were the biggest single contributors to
Bravo's insertable-subscriber count.
In addition, the network has attracted a "pretty good
mix" of systems owned by major MSOs -- chiefly Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox and
MediaOne, he said.
Among the earliest operators committed to selling local
avails on Bravo, starting earlier this year, are Cox systems in Phoenix and Omaha, Neb.;
Time Warner in San Diego; Time Warner's Paragon Cable in San Antonio and Minneapolis;
MediaOne in southwest Florida and Naples, Fla.; and Cablevision in Rockland County, N.Y.,
Adlink director of marketing Vicki Lins cited early Bravo
sales success with DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz, Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln-Mercury
division, Chevron Corp. and Rio Suites.
Adlink has used the upscale-skewing film-and-arts network
to sell time to new and existing accounts in categories ranging from performing arts and
art galleries to antique stores, financial and cellular phones, Hill added.
GBCA general manager Jeff Sohinki described Bravo as
"a welcome addition to GBCA's higher-end demographic sales efforts."
CAMA general sales manager Jeffrey Ervin added, "We
know upscale avails deliver revenue -- we often sell out of inventory for Discovery
[Channel], A&E [Network] and CNBC." He anticipated that Bravo would attract
"entertainment/arts-oriented advertisers, film studios and financial services."
On the network side, Hill said, Bravo's major advertisers
include American Express Co., Black & Decker, Federal Express Corp., IBM Corp., Toyota
Motor Sales USA's Lexus division, MCI WorldCom, Mercedes, Charles Schwab & Co. and
Miramax Films, which are all in hot pursuit of upscale viewers.
Bravo research vice president Charlene Weisler said Nielsen
Media Research and Mediamark Research Inc. data for 1997-98 indicated that Bravo reaches
"the most affluent, professional and well-educated viewers in television."
For instance, she said, MRI put Bravo's median household
income at $58,000 last year -- "the highest of any cable network or pay