Bravo Goes Multimedia

Strikes deals for cruises, calendars, cookbooks and more to expand brand
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Bravo Media is striking new partnerships to sell everything from cruises to cookbooks tied to its shows, in an effort to take its brand name beyond television.

The deals, which include a Top Chef cruise, calendar and cooking class, and an exercise DVD linked to the show Workout, come nearly a year after Bravo changed its name to include "Media," saying it was responding to its fan base's desire for more touch points with the brand. The deals are aimed at both creating new revenue streams and driving brand loyalty.

"Our goal with this is to really go beyond the network with our show brands and affinity groups," says Frances Berwick, executive VP and general manager of Bravo Media. "Viewers are often fanatical about our shows, and many of these things are tactile versions of who the viewers are and ways to extend their experience. We're all about being more Bravo in more places more often, and this all speaks to that."

For Chef, the network will launch a 20-city mobile tour with an 18-wheel semi-truck branded with show graphics and staffed with former contestants. The truck makes its first appearance at the upcoming NCTA cable show in New Orleans. Separately, Bravo has paired with Jazz Cruises for a Top Chef cruise in May 2009. The boat will hit Mediterranean cities, with former contestants presenting how food is made in each one.

Bravo has also paired with the Culinary Institute of America on Top Chef-branded classes, and with Rizzoli to create Top Chef: The 2009 Calendar with fan-favorite chefs and a monthly cooking challenge. A Top Chef cookbook published by Chronicle Books has sold more than 65,000 copies since launching this spring and has been in the top 10 cookbooks on Amazon.com. It is also selling well at Costco, Target and other retailers, and has been ordered for a reprint. Separately, the network has paired with Calphalon to package the book with cookware at retail outlets.

"We're known for our independent and creative spirit, and we admire that about Bravo and their programming," says Peter Perez, Chronicle Books' senior marketing manager, food and drink. "That is projected in the overall feel of both of our companies."

The network is also extending its Workout show with an exercise DVD featuring lead trainer Jackie Warner and trainers from her Sky Sport & Spa gym, where the reality show is shot. The DVD is being launched with Lionsgate and digital TV channel Exercise TV, which will premiere it on VOD May 6 before it goes for sale on BravoTV.com May 20.

Finally, Bravo is pushing international expansion with its shows (Top Chef has been sold to 198 territories, Real Housewives of Orange County to 178, and Shear Genius to more than 100). As was previously announced, it is working with Pangea, a talent management division of RDF USA, to sign former contestants of its reality shows.

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