TNT Gets Loud to Build on Solid NASCAR NumbersWith Fox ratings up, Turner launches marketing campaign this week 5/16/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
SNTA Message for Upfront: Syndication's Great Value
NASCAR has stemmed its recent ratings crash with a
solid start to the 2011 season on Fox, so now TNT is
stepping up a marketing campaign for its portion of the
schedule that it hopes will leave fans’ ears buzzing.
Turner has picked NASCAR-mad Charlotte, N.C.’s
EpiCentre complex to test a new “directional audio”
technology that delivers a concentrated beam of sound on
a specifi c location. When visitors walk through the audio
beam over a TNT logo, they’ll hear the sound of engines
revving, cars speeding around the track, TNT tune-in information
about upcoming races and the song “T.N.T.” by AC/
DC, which can only be heard within the beam of sound.
The campaign rolls out May 17, while TNT begins its
portion of the season on June 12 (NASCAR begins on Fox,
moves to Turner, and ends up on Disney networks as the
season progresses). Through the first 10 NASCAR Sprint
Cup races, Fox is averaging a 5.2 rating and 8.9 million viewers,
a 7% bump in average audience over last year—a stabilization
for a sport that has seen recent ratings erosion.
Turner’s Charlotte effort marks the first time that
sound-activated media has been used to promote a
sporting event or property, and NASCAR felt like the
perfect first-to-market opportunity for the network. “This
has the environment for it as well as the natural auditory;
the audio feature for NASCAR goes hand in glove, so it
made a lot of sense,” says Christina Miller, senior VP of
Turner Sports strategy/marketing/programming.
Miller says they’d consider a similar initiative for another
Turner sports property if it felt like the right fit. “Sound is
such an important part of any sporting event,” she says.
“This marries both opportunity and execution.”
The network will also use billboards to deliver realtime
info during races—much like it did during the
NCAA basketball, NBA and MLB playoffs—which Miller
sees as essential to relay the real-time urgency of
sports. “It is so important to us as a point of differentiation
to capture that anywhere we can, but outdoor is
one where we’ve really been able to make a difference.”