Now in HBO’s Corner: truTV


TruTV will step into the
promotional boxing ring to tout
sister Time Warner Inc.-owned
network HBO’s June 9 Manny
Pacquiao-Tim Bradley Jr. pay-perview
boxing event.

On the day of the fight, truTV will
air a four-hour block of HBO Sports’
documentary series 24/7: Pacquiao-
hours before the PPV event is
set to begin, according to HBO Sports
vice president and general manager
Tammy Ross. TruTV’s increased emphasis
on sports programming, due
to its coverage of the NCAA men’s college
basketball tournament — as well
as its core young viewership — made
the network an ideal promotional option,
Ross said.

“TruTv is one of the fastest-growing networks on cable,
ratings-wise, and the demographics are exactly where they
want to be, so we’re excited about it,”
Ross said.

HBO is using the documentary series
as advertising that it hopes will
generate incremental PPV revenues
on fight night. In a unique agreement,
HBO is giving the content to
truTV and allowing the network to
keep the ad revenue. TruTV gets free,
quality sports programming, which
it can sell ads against.

The truTV deal is part of an extensive
marketing push for the event
in the week leading up to the fight.
HBO and Pacquiao-Bradley promoter
Top Rank will run a heavy rotation
of fight spots within TNT’s coverage
of the San Antonio Spurs-Oklahoma
City Thunder National Basketball Association
Western Conference finals.
HBO Sports will also run spots on a
number of cable and broadcast networks in the week leading
up to the fight.

Along with the 24/7 series, HBO will air several promotional
programs prior to the fight, including a live weigh-in show
the day before the event. The network will also air Fight Day
, a special pre-fight show that will air an hour before the
PPV event begins.

“Right now, 65% of HBO homes are PPV fight buyers, so it’s
important for us to hit that audience pretty robustly with original
programming,” Ross said.

Ross said she doesn’t believe buys for Pacquiao-Bradley
will be hurt by the close proximity to HBO’s May 5 Floyd
Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight, which drew 1.5 million buys
with a price tag of $70 for the high-definition feed.

The suggested retail for Pacquiao-Bradley is $54.95, according
to HBO.

“Manny Pacquiao has always performed very well for the
industry,” Ross said. “The industry support coming right out
of the Mayweather-Cotto fight is just enormous. We never had
two mega PPV stars fight one month apart from each other, so
we have momentum from the industry side.”

Boxing fans will also be able to purchase the fight via the
Web on as part of a wide-ranging content deal
between Top Rank and Major League Baseball’s Advanced
Media interactive division.

Ross would not project how many buys Pacquiao-Bradley
will generate, but said that the online streaming deal
shouldn’t affect the buy rate.

“Right now it doesn’t seem to be a concern — we know that
in the future, it’s going to be important to have some kind of
broadband component,” she said. “Our preference would be
to have it on an authenticated basis, similar to HBOGo.”