I want my TMN!

'Never a dull moment,' promises the Family Channel. Same can be said of Astral Media after a recent revamp of its key marketing positions to unify its branding resources and expand the promotional push of Family and The Movie Network.

‘Never a dull moment,’ promises the Family Channel. Same can be said of Astral Media after a recent revamp of its key marketing positions to unify its branding resources and expand the promotional push of Family and The Movie Network.

Russell Ward steps up to director, consumer marketing for both channels, which is a newly created position. He was previously director of marketing promotions for Family. Last month’s ‘Spring Break Out’ campaign is an example of the kind of promo hook-ups he’s looking for. It offered kids the chance to win one of seven trips to Vancouver to meet the cast of the hit Family Channel program, Radio Free Roscoe. The station partnered with Nintendo, which was promoting its new Donkey Kong Jungle Beat game. The response surpassed expectations. ‘We had 6,000 SMS entries,’ Ward says, ‘And over 30,000 entries.’

Going forward, the channel will be looking to partner with cereal companies, video games, toy manufacturers and school supply companies, to name a few. He says similar kinds of partnerships are planned for TMN, which will now fall under Holly Chapman’s new remit as director, sales promotion and sponsorships. Meanwhile, Richard Bartrem, who had been overseeing TMN’s new positioning and the launch of TMN OnDemand, will now develop programs for the movie services and Family.

Next for Ward, however, will be the April 4 launch of TMN OnDemand, with a new campaign, created by Toronto’s Taxi, continuing to push the ‘Better than Television’ tagline. He’s also planning a very big push for the new, very expensive, HBO/BBC co-production of Rome, a mini-series which comes to TMN in September.

Before joining Astral, Ward worked for Walt Disney Company in the consumer products division and for CTV in the sales and marketing department.