THE MARKETING 100: CHANNEL ONE: MARTIN GRANT

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The assignment for Martin Grant, president of sales and marketing at Channel One Network: Luring advertisers into daily teenage life.

From the time Mr. Grant, 39, joined K-III Communications Corp. in 1995, he faced the task of turning the in-school programming vehicle into a visible, mainstream media option to reach teens.

The 12-minute news program, including two minutes of commercials, is shown daily to students in U.S. classrooms.

"Unless you're a 14-year-old sitting in a classroom, you haven't seen it," Mr. Grant says. "We had to make it visible. That was a huge challenge."

Also a challenge: Improving Channel One's image among advertisers and especially the general public. Thus came alliances with ABC News for programming and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America for public service.

The growing number of Channel One affiliations with national news media and education-based organizations has boosted advertiser interest in the network.

Mr. Grant targets prospects through a marketing plan that includes ads from Merkley Newman Harty, New York, in various trade magazines. He also employs database marketing and special events.

The combined efforts build not only a "overall presence" but "stature," Mr. Grant says.

Today, top-tier advertisers each day are reaching nearly 8 million public-school students.

Some 25 advertisers bought time on Channel One in 1996, including Pepsi-Cola Co., Nintendo of America, M&M/Mars and Reebok International.

The number of advertisers increased by 40% in 1997, with new clients like Sears, Roebuck & Co., J.C. Penney Co., General Mills and the U.S. Marines.

"We've seen terrific results," Mr. Grant says. "But there are many advertisers who don't understand that we're 50 times as big as MTV for the teen audience. We still have work to do."

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