|Court TV Chairman-CEO Henry Schlieff
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Court TV’s Web presence already includes the increasingly infamous Smokinggun.com, Crimelibrary.com and CourtTV.com, which streams live trial coverage online. Chairman-CEO Henry Schlieff revealed plans yesterday to expand that presence as a part of a programming effort kicking off in May called “Seriously Everywhere,” a play on the network's tagline, "Seriously Entertaining." The new broadband service Red is named after an action programming block ("Real Exciting Dramatic") that runs from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. weeknights on the cable network.
“We are at a seminal moment in this industry,” Mr. Schlieff said. “It is clear that certain kinds of content all present a greater benefit to advertisers. No longer do we have to reach out and grab viewers and consumers. It is no longer about the right mix. It is far more fundamental.”
For advertisers, Mr. Schlieff said, the choice is about finding the most effective content for their ad messages and he stressed the engagement theme that Court TV championed during last year’s upfront, the annual TV ad sales marketplace.
Indeed, Charlie Collier, exec VP-ad sales, detailed how the network delivered on last year’s guarantee to sell not only number of viewers but "engaged viewers," calculated by taking Nielsen Media Research minute-by-minute data and mixing it with media agencies' own measures of engagement.
“Court TV is leading a necessary evolution,” said Mr. Collier, who related how the company chief financial officer wanted to limit the amount of engagement dollars the channel could guarantee because of the risk. “The sweet spot of advertising is the involved viewer.”
Four major agencies made engagement-based deals with Court TV: Starcom, Magna Global, Carat and Mediaedge:cia. The network concluded the first quarter with an average prime-time audience of 396,000 in adults aged 18-to-49. Court TV said this is its best quarter in its 15-year history.
Marc Juris, general manager and program chief, unveiled a raft of compelling and offbeat upcoming shows as part of the network's upfront presentation. The shows include a one-off called “Spam: The Documentary,” about how all that unwanted e-mail got its name (from the Monty Python sketch), and a hilarious but serious look at Jan Lewan, “The Man Who Would be Polka King,” a popular performer who was a criminal mastermind.
The network also has two shows in development, one fronted by director John Waters called “Divorce Story,” which follows a marriage after it goes sour, and “Call 911,” about the most amazing calls made to emergency service operators.