Ops Court Shopping Trip

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Court TV is expanding its investigation brand to shopping malls in a local ad-sales promotion that the network says will generate cash for cable operators and prizes for viewers.

Set to launch in September in hopes of drawing back-to-school shoppers, “The Grand Shopping Investigation” promotion will allow cable affiliates to cut local-ad sales deals with malls and individual retail outlets that would participate in a contest aimed at driving store traffic.

$500 SPREE OFFERED

Shoppers hoping to win a $500 shopping spree, flat-screen TVs and other prizes would have to visit 10 to 15 stores in a mall in order to collect clues needed to win prizes.

“Our cable operators are constantly trying to bring value to the malls because they’re one of the largest advertisers, besides car dealerships, in local markets,” said Court TV senior vice president of affiliate ad sales and marketing Ellen Schned.

Court TV expects that cable affiliates that participate could generate $15,000 to more than $50,000 per system by selling sponsorships and local-ad sales packages to local malls and retailers, Schned said.

Affiliates that have signed up for the promotion so far include Adelphia Communications Corp.’s West Palm Beach, Fla., system and Comcast Corp.’s New Jersey and Philadelphia systems.

National Cable Communications and the New York Interconnect are also pitching the promotion to affiliates.

Operators that want to participate must run a minimum of 200 tune-in spots for Court TV programming and 200 cross-channel spots for the promotion that contain a 10-second tag operators can sell to malls and retailers, according to Schned.

Aimed at women 25 to 54, the promotion will turn on mall kiosks, set up by Court TV, where shoppers can pick up a “Clue Card” containing a crossword puzzle grid and a list of participating stores doling out the clues needed to complete the puzzle.

TRICKY PRODUCT PLACEMENT

Some of the clues will be designed to promote products offered by local cable operators such as video-on-demand, Schned said.

For example, she said one clue that will be used at a shopping mall in West Palm Beach would be, “Adelphia offers video-on-_____.”

“The beauty is the clues can be customized for the store, and we’ll have some questions about the cable operator,” Sched added.

Each of the 10 to 15 stores that will participate in the local malls will have to provide a prize worth at least $100, Sched said.

And Court TV will give $500 to a grand prize winner at each mall for a shopping spree.

Court TV will also work with its local cable affiliates to help generate local print and radio news coverage of the contests.

The network will also offer parents digital fingerprinting for their kids at several malls, she added.

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