TBS Budgets $70M to Reach Guys

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New York-TBS Superstation last week unwrapped print ads and television spots for its $70 million rebranding campaign targeting "regular guys" and their families.

The theme line is: "It's your world. We're just programming it."

Through the years, TBS and sister network Turner Network Television have often been "lumped together" in ad-agency media plans, TBS executive vice president and general manager Dennis Quinn said.

Unlike the past, when networks succeeded by "being all things to all people," he said, TBS now must "differentiate itself from TNT and all other networks."

After about two years of studying Nielsen Media Research's demographic data and psychographic research-ranging from Yanekovich Monitor to focus-group research-Quinn said it was determined that "our target is the regular guy."

He defined that category as "not necessarily defined by age and income-an attitude more than an address."

Unlike last year's interest in men as reflected in targeted shows by Comedy Central, FX and USA Network at "the extreme edges"-younger guys-TBS will skew older, Quinn said. Its target median age is 42, 66 percent are married and 60 percent have white-collar jobs (including 20 percent in upper management).

While TBS is positioning itself as "a TV haven for the regular guy," Quinn said, 80 percent of their viewing is with their spouses and children. "Target the regular guy and you're going to deliver his family," he said, adding, "Extremes don't play well here."

While he didn't make the connection, TBS'ratings performance has been hurt lately by its slumping World Championship Wrestling franchise.

TBS'repositioning "will guide every single decision made internally," he noted. The network is erasing documentaries and animation from its schedule, and it has been phasing out its 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. teen block by adding such older-skewing off-net sitcoms as Drew Carey, Home Improvement, Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond.

TBS also plans more original movies and series-mostly reality-based, because "our audience loves this reality stuff," he added. For that reason, TBS has given Ripley's Believe It or Not! a 22-episode renewal, and it is looking for a companion series, Quinn added.

The network won't entirely ignore action series, he said, noting that a Mel Gibson-produced pilot, Invincible, is under consideration.

TBS will also slate more broadcast premieres of such movies as Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and As Good As It Gets, and it is adding National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing coverage to its Atlanta Braves and National Basketball Association coverage.

Referring to Nielsen slippage in WCW and NBA ratings, Quinn said, "TNT has been more victimized by that than we are."

TBS will also continue with its appointment-viewing movie packages-"Dinner & A Movie," "Movie Lounge" and "Movies for Guys Who Love Movies," the latter an early thrust at its target audience.

Since these viewers "enjoy humor and a bit of irreverence," the print ads and the commercials will reflect that, Quinn said. One spot shows a husband watching a Braves game on a TV set duct-taped to his lawn tractor as he mows the lawn. Another depicts a couple in bed, with the woman reading a book and her spouse reading TV Guide.

In print, an ad for Michael Douglas'movie, The Game, says, "Watch someone else come unglued for a change," and one for Ripley's says, "After you see this, your in-laws won't seem so strange."

TBS senior vice president of marketing Constance Barkley-Lewis said the $70 million campaign-developed by Hal Riney & Partners of San Francisco-will include print ads in USA Today, Sports Illustrated and Sunday-newspaper supplements, plus commercials in spot cable and radio, as well as outdoor.

On-air promos broke April 7 on all Turner networks, with print and radio to be added today (April 10). In the third quarter, TBS will focus on relaunching its Web site, she added.

Until now, TBS'marketing has concentrated on tune-in for specific shows. Now, Barkley-Lewis said, "We want them to tune in to our brand."

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