Time Warner Cable's Los Angeles division, eyeing a strong follow-up to last year's solid start, has gathered its promotional forces behind its second annual "Time 2 Count Reading" initiative.
A six-month campaign, Time 2 Count Reading will run from October through March.
Last year, the effort — staged under the "Reading Counts" banner — drew 200 teachers and 4,000 children in kindergarten through eighth grade, said vice president of corporate relations, Los Angeles division Deane Leavenworth. Reading Counts, which supports California Gov. Gray Davis's Reading Award literacy program, won several awards, including a public-affairs honor from the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.
Monitoring how many book or magazine pages youngsters read — and the time they spend reading them — can be a tedious process. So the operator developed a free, Internet-based tracking system.
That system is password-protected for both teachers and parents. After public and private school teachers register their classes for Time 2 Count Reading, students and their parents may log on to submit their performance daily or weekly.
As an incentive, Time Warner rewards students and classes with monthly prizes for the most pages logged, ranging from backpacks to digital cameras. Participating students logged more than 3 million pages last year, Leavenworth said.
Each of the top 10 schools won a $1,000 cash prize from Time Warner for the purchase of additional books.
Time Warner will support the initiative through cross-channel promotional spots to run in September and October, flyers, and a link from the system's Web site (www.accesstimewarner.com) to the program's site (www.time2countreading.com). Materials feature the project's logo, a bookworm, encircled by a clock and reading a book.
In addition to teachers, school districts and parents, materials will be sent to street fairs and other community events, Leavenworth said.
Former SCDRG Inc. partner David Robertson, who was with that agency when it handled the campaign a year ago, will coordinate efforts this time around through his Robertson Marketing agency.
To spur early signups, teachers registered by Oct. 1 will be entered into a drawing for one of five $500 awards toward the purchase of classroom supplies.
Schools located outside the Time Warner Cable division's reach also can participate in the tracking program, but the prizes are reserved for those within its service area.
Last year, the system made the program available to San Diego in support of the governor's statewide literacy efforts, Leavenworth said.
The Time Warner Cable division's educational programs also provide free basic-cable service for hundreds of schools within its area. Those facilities also receive more than 500 hours of ad-free educational programming per month, through Time Warner's Cable in the Classroom involvement.