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ADVERTISER SUMMIT ON KIDS TV URGED

By Published on .

The White House has agreed to meet with a group of leading U.S. marketers and explore the role of advertisers in developing and promoting better children's TV programming.

The proposed summit could be held within the next 90 days and would be part of an effort to make advertisers more than just buyers of airtime on kids' TV.

Jack Myers, chairman-CEO of Television Programming Partners, proposed the advertiser meeting at last week's White House summit on children's TV, at which President Clinton announced an agreement to require TV stations to run at least 3 hours a week of educational programming for kids.

TPP represents a consortium of major advertisers, including General Motors Corp., McDonald's Corp., Clorox Co., Campbell Soup Co., AT&T Corp., and Sears, Roebuck & Co. But Mr. Myers said later he was speaking at the conference as an industry consultant, and for several advertisers attending the White House meeting.

INCENTIVES SUGGESTED

Mr. Myers said the issues raised about children's TV call for advertisers to go beyond their role as buyers of ad time on available shows and look at other economic incentives to support what is often low-rated but high-quality programming. Incentive examples include rights to license a show's characters or involve a program in a promotion, said aides to Mr. Myers.

"Advertisers have been reluctant to be perceived as trying to control the content," Mr. Myers said. "The White House initiative provides the foundation that helps overcome advertisers' traditional concern over conflict."

WHITE HOUSE OK

Vice President Gore accepted Mr. Myers' offer, saying at the summit, "The President has authorized me to accept a follow-up meeting with the advertising community to discuss these topics."

Mr. Myers told those at the conference, including President Clinton, that his group would create a "laboratory" that would look at the ratings of educational shows vs. entertainment programming. But, Mr. Myers said, this laboratory would operate "with the understanding that economic and marketing issues must be addressed."

Those advertisers would "welcome the opportunity to return here with a specific set of initiatives and commitments," he added.

Mr. Myers' offer came after advertisers were criticized for not sufficiently supporting educational programming.

Mr. Myers said he hoped to schedule a meeting within 90 days and that interest groups and programmers might also attend.

SHARED RESPONSIBILITY

But some TV networks suggested any past problems getting quality kids shows on are already being solved, while traditional ad groups including the Association of National Advertisers argued that advertisers, programmers and networks must share responsibility for programming problems.

"Advertisers are not the cause of the problem," said ANA Exec VP Dan Jaffe.

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