New York -- The MTV Networks stable made a spirited first-ever joint upfront
pitch to Madison Avenue Tuesday night, asking that advertisers turn to cable for
broad reach at a fraction of broadcast's price.
Nearly 3,000 people attended the star-studded event at The Theater at Madison
Square Garden here, as officials ranging from MTVN chairman Tom Freston to
Viacom Inc. president Mel Karmazin pleaded for ad agencies to move money from
pricey broadcast to the seven varied MTVN services -- ranging from MTV: Music
Television to Nickelodeon -- this upfront season.
The mantra was that the shift of media budgets from broadcast to cable has
reached "a tipping point," as Sue Danaher, Nick executive vice president and
general sales manager, told the audience, after being propelled onstage by the
crowd in the mosh pit at the event.
Touting its strong brands, MTVN boasted that it delivers almost 10 percent of
all 18- through 34-year-olds in ad-supported television, including
MTVN pulled out all of the stops with its presentation, which included
performances by Elton John and Kid Rock, who both got standing ovations.
There were also appearances by a long list of celebrities associated with the
MTVN services, including Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne, Pam Anderson, Farrah Fawcett
(spacey and flubbing her lines), P. Diddy,Jewel, Kirstie Alley, Steve
"Stone Cold" Austin, John Leguizamo, Jason Sehorn, Sherman Helmsley, Phylicia
Rashad and Barbara Feldon.
At the presentation, MTVN officials maintained that their cable group is a
meaningful player when compared directly with broadcasters on measures such as
reach, share and quality of audience in the 18-through-34 and 18-through-49
In late-night, for example, on reach for 18 through 34, nobody -- not even
NBC -- beats MTVN, according to MTVN officials.
Even preschool block "Nick Jr.," with the exception of Lifetime Television,
reaches more mothers in its programming hours than other cable network in
primetime, and in daytime, Nick Jr. delivers twice as many mothers as Lifetime,
according to Herb Scannell, president of Nick, TV Land and The New TNN.
Officials also used the occasion to unveil the logo for Spike TV, the new
incarnation and name for TNN when it relaunches as a men's network June