New Cable Nets Get Behind Kids and Family

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Cable networks will spend more than $25 million on
marketing and promotion -- much of it in-kind services -- to support "Tune In to Kids
and Family Week II," said Josh Sapan, president and CEO of Rainbow Media Holdings
Inc. and chairman of Kids and Family's executive steering committee.

The National Cable Television Association is coordinating
the initiative, under which 75 networks -- nearly double last year's count -- will
devote more than 600 primetime hours to family fare through June 14.

Of those networks, 29 will simulcast the kickoff half-hour Take
a Moment
special, which is co-hosted by Melissa Joan Hart, tonight (June 8) at 7:30

Sapan said $25 million was a "conservative
number" that will encompass both paid media and the networks' own air, as well
as NCTA-supplied promotional kits and the networks' own materials, he added. The
total may ultimately top $50 million, he said.

Besides the networks, Sapan said,
"several-hundred" cable operators will be involved in tie-in screenings of
Take a Moment
and other family fare, as well as presenting critical-viewing workshops
and other events at the local level.

Although the networks must offer family-friendly product
within the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time period on at least one night during that designated week,
the NCTA said, "Most networks will exceed that minimum participation."

Several children-aimed services are going all-out, with
Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite offering 41 shows, WAM! 33, Disney Channel 21 and Cartoon Network

In addition, Cable in the Classroom devoted an entire
editorial page to the initiative in the June issue of its own magazine, which is sent to

"The newer networks do see this as an opportunity to
showcase themselves" to consumers, Sapan said. For example, Toon Disney will feature
45 shows, Animal Planet 35, Nick at Nite's TV Land 28, FiT TV 20 and Knowledge TV 15.

Indeed, the newcomers seem to be more enthused than the
established networks. TBS Superstation planned to feature 11 shows (Atlanta Braves Major
League Baseball games and reruns of TheAndy Griffith Show), The Family
Channel six, A&E Television Networks' services a combined five, Black
Entertainment Television's networks a total of four and USA Networks Inc.'s
services a total of three (including two Walker, Texas Ranger repeats).

Still, Sapan said, he's not disappointed in the
biggest networks being less zealous. Rather, he added, he's pleased with the
"unprecedented" response.

"That's fairly rare" for competitors, he
said. "I've never seen broadcasters do it."