New channels report `a ton of advertising’

Despite an extremely tight launch timeframe and howls of protest from consumers over negative option marketing tactics, new specialty tv services greeted their Jan. 1 debut with commercial sales exceeding expectations.Among the advertisers for the seven newly-licenced services are such well-known...

Despite an extremely tight launch timeframe and howls of protest from consumers over negative option marketing tactics, new specialty tv services greeted their Jan. 1 debut with commercial sales exceeding expectations.

Among the advertisers for the seven newly-licenced services are such well-known names as Kraft General Foods, Procter & Gamble, General Motors Co. of Canada, Range Rover and Hershey Canada.

Peter Wilmshurst, vice-president of marketing, sales and cable relations for specialty channel Showcase Television, says ‘We have sold a ton of advertising.’

Wilmshurst, who reveals Showcase’s sales were a bit shy of $1 million by Jan. 1, says the sales results were encouraging since no ad contracts were signed until November.

He says what sold ‘tough and discriminating’ advertisers such as p&g and kgf on Showcase was the proven quality of its programming.

He says Showcase’s policy is to broadcast programs that have demonstrated an ability to attract audiences in Canada and abroad.

Todd Goldsbie, director of sales for Life Network, says his goal is to achieve $1.5 million in sales by August.

Goldsbie says the service passed the $1-million mark a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Although Goldsbie would not disclose his advertisers before Life’s official launch, he called them a ‘good roster of national advertisers.’

David Kirkwood, vice-president of sales and marketing for Bravo!, says five well-known corporations have bought time on his service, and there are ‘fairly firm commitments’ from others to be on-air by February or March.

Kirkwood says the ad dollars are coming from traditional supporters of the arts such as auto companies, banks and credit card firms.

Two of Bravo!’s advertisers are Range Rover and Lincoln Continental.

Jacqueline Cook, vice-president of marketing at wtn, offers to read from a list of her advertisers.

The list includes kgf, Pillsbury Canada, Lever Bros., Colgate-Palmolive Canada, General Mills Canada, Smithkline Beecham, Reebok, and more.

Cook says at the time of the licensing hearings last year, wtn got ‘positive letters of intervention’ from advertisers, stating, essentially, that if wtn got its licence, they would buy air time.

She says sales, so far, are in the $1-million range, adding she projects substantial growth in wtn’s second year.

Brian Bolli, general sales manager for New Country Network, says compared with the other services his was probably a little late off the mark, but he is still pleased with sales.

Bolli says he expects to sell time to p&g and other large advertisers.

One client already signed up is the light truck division of gm, which has become a full sponsor of ncn’s Top 20 Countdown, a two-hour show that runs four times a week in primetime.

Bolli says he is confident ncn’s audience numbers are going to be quite good, noting everyone will soon find out since the new specialty services are being measured by people meters and the results will be posted weekly.

Bolli, who calls ncn a ‘purely entertainment vehicle,’ says advertisers can see the benefit of the service from a marketing point of view.

ncn runs urban country videos round the clock seven days a week.

Bolli says it has no vjs, djs, hosts or others, and no ‘long-form programming.’