Studios Unveil Marketing Strategies at Station Summit

Syndicators hope to get most bang for their buck as they premiere new shows this fall

Why This Matters

Strategic, consistent marketing is crucial in a cluttered media environment where it can take viewers years to find your show.

Studios and syndicators came to PromaxBDA Station Summit in Las Vegas June 19-23 to reveal their marketing plans for upcoming shows to their TV station clients.

This fall, there are more shows launching than were expected back in January, when syndicators gathered at NATPE Miami Market & Conference. Back then, Twentieth’s Page Six TV was the only new show headed for national syndication, with a few more on offer. At Station Summit, several studios showcased their coming wares to station marketing executives.

Twentieth and EndemolShine North America, its producing partner, were on hand to discuss some elaborate marketing plans, which started early last month.

Page Six TV was joined by two new off-net offerings — Warner Bros.’ Mom and Sony Pictures Television’s The Gold-bergs, both of which are coming to TV stations this fall. NBCUniversal talked about what it’s doing to launch the new iteration of Steve Harvey’s talk show. And Entertainment Studios was on hand for the first time, meeting with stations about its new comedy game show, Funny You Should Ask.

Debmar-Mercury and FremantleMedia North America are getting ready to launch the Judge Judy Sheindlin-created game show, iWitness, as a six-week test starting July 10. And CBS Television Distribution, after hosting a morning keynote featuring Dr. Phil Mc-Graw, talked to stations about its new show, Daily Mail TV, which is coming from McGraw, his son Jay and Daily Mail publisher Martin Clarke, and will be executive produced by Carla Pennington from New York City.

Mom, the fourth sitcom coming to syndication from creator Chuck Lorre, premieres Sept. 18 on Tribune-owned (soon to be Sinclair-owned) stations in top markets, as well as across the country. To promote the show, Warner Bros. has planned an elaborate campaign, supported by research.

‘Mom,’ ‘Men’ Are a Winning Match

One of Warner Bros.’ key findings is that when Mom airs on a CBS owned or affiliated station that also airs Warner Bros.’ Two and a Half Men (also from Lorre) in syndication, 75% of the audience sticks around to watch both shows, said Liz Huszarik, executive vice president, Warner Bros. media research and insights. As of now, 92 stations have licensed both shows, and Warner Bros. is encouraging those stations to pair the two shows in access or late-fringe time periods to aim for greater viewership for both.

To incentivize stations to schedule the two shows together, Warner Bros. is offering to match their off-air advertising efforts three for one at launch and again during the November sweeps.

So, if a local station buys off-air time on a local cable operator, for example, Warner Bros. will triple that buy.

The studio also created a takeoff of Two and a Half Men’s well-known opening titles, in which Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones sing “men, men, men, men …” In the new spot, Mom’s Anna Faris and Allison Janney take over the Sheen and Cryer roles, while Cryer appears in the middle, all singing “mom, mom, mom, mom …”

“These shows have similar signature styles and comedic sensibilities. Back-to-back, these two shows are guaranteed to build your audience,” said Lisa Gregorian, president and chief marketing officer, Warner Bros. Television Group, during the presentation to stations at Station Summit.

Warner Bros. also is creating customizable promos featuring local stations’ call letters and show time periods, with both appearing as part of a tattoo on Christy’s (Faris) arm. The company is offering other customizable print ads that can run in stations’ partner newspapers and include the local paper’s name in the art.

Finally, Warner Bros. is extending last year’s $1 million “Show Us Your Funny” initiative, which encourages stations to submit their locally created promos to be considered for national use. This year, stations can go beyond just TV and enter promos for radio, outdoor and print ads and social-media content for the chance to win $5,000 for on-air spots and $1,000 for all other spots.

“There is amazingly creative work being done by our local station partners,” Gregorian said. “By having access to these produced spots, we can keep our stations across the country stocked with a fresh library of creative content.”

In the program’s first year, started in 2016, KTLA Los Angeles, WBCW San Francisco and WRBW Orlando and many other stations all submitted promos that went national.

Also launching this fall is The Goldbergs, distributed by Sony Pictures Television. The Goldbergs is headed into its fifth season on ABC, but SPT has been planning for its syndicated run since the show was picked up for a second season, said Sheraton Kalouria, SPT’s president and chief marketing officer. The show already is renewed for two more seasons, including the upcoming one.