TCM 'Ads' Oscar Value

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Although Turner Classic Movies is commercial-free, the network said it has found a way for cable operators to make money by running spots for its "31 Days of Oscar" campaign.

TCM scheduled more than 40 movies that it will run from Feb. 1 through March 2, and the network created a local ad-sales campaign for cable affiliates that can sell sponsorships for cross-channel spots that promote the effort.

While the ads won't run on TCM, the cross-channel spots contain a seven-second bed operators can use to run their sponsors' information at the end of the spots.

The network is also running a radio promotion for "31 Days of Oscar," in which it cut deals with radio stations that listeners can call to answer trivia questions about classic movies that have won Academy Awards, or Oscars. Stations will give away one big-screen TV each week, and TCM will also buy radio ads touting the campaign which will tell listeners that "31 Days of Oscar" is only available on their local cable system.

Small cable systems with less than 30,000 subscribers won't be able to participate in the radio campaign, but TCM said it will give each small operator that runs at least 350 spots for the campaign during January and February a Palm Pilot.

TCM plans to run programming from different categories each Monday through Saturday during the campaign, such as "Best Actress" nominees and winners on Monday and "Best Actor" nominees and winners on Tuesdays. It will run a 72-hour "Best Picture" theme leading up to the Feb. 29 Oscar ceremony, scheduling several movies that have won Best Picture in the past, including Driving Miss Daisy, Grand Hotel, Rebecca and West Side Story.

ABC will televise the 2004 Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 29 in Los Angeles.