Court's Mall Tour May Expand in '03


Court TV's 20-market "Mobile Investigative Unit" tour, which hit the road in April, already has proven successful in generating incremental local ad revenue for affiliates.

Court vice president of local affiliate ad sales and strategic marketing Thomas Wolfe said that the tour, the network's first grass-roots marketing effort, has done so well that Court may increase the number of markets in 2003.

The tour promotes Court TV's Forensic Files
series and features kiosks where parents can have their children's fingerprints taken digitally and where parents and kids can play an interactive game, "Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?"

The kiosks also feature handwriting analysis and a screen test, during which visitors can audition as an investigative reporter for Court TV.

In most of the markets, the programmer partnered with Simon Malls. But in Washington, D.C., where Simon does not operate a shopping venue, Court joined with Comcast MarketLink Washington, which brought the tour to the Smithsonian Institute and sold Six Flags theme park as a sponsor.

Advertisers in each of the tour stops can have signage and sampling opportunities, as well as run tie-in promotion spots and other marketing support, Wolfe said.

Wolfe said that Washington and the other six most recent MIU stops have each enjoyed local ad-sales success. AT&T Broadband signed a Honda dealership in Atlanta, a Toyota dealer in Dallas and a law firm in Miami, he said.

Comcast MarketLink Detroit landed a Subway Restaurant outlet, while Cox Communications Inc. signed Education America in Phoenix and Charter Communications Inc. in St. Louis booked that city's police department as part of its recruitment campaign, Wolfe said.

With stops in Los Angeles and San Diego remaining on this year's MIU tour, Court TV officials indicated that planning for 2003 is already on the docket.