NAPTE News: TiVo forms TiVo Entertainment Group; and more

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[LAS VEGAS] TiVo, marketer of a personal TV service for digital video recorders, has formed the TiVo Entertainment Group to help it focus on key business targets, according to Stacy Jolna, the Group's VP-chief programming officer. Mr. Jolna, attending the National Association of Television Programming Executives show here, said the new organization consists of three teams charged with negotiating advertising and couch-commerce deals for TiVo's Personal TV System. The advertiser-ad agency team will target marketers and their agencies; the Network team handles broadcasters and cable programmers, and media agencies; and an audience research group will evaluate consumer behavior and other issues. Ken Ripley, a former ad sales executive with Sony Corp.'s Columbia-Tristar, is TiVo's national director, advertiser sales based in New York.

At NAPTE, TiVo is expected to announce three new deals with ad agencies, two of which are with The WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, and Bcom3's Starcom MediaVest, according to executives close to the matter. The third agency was not known. Late last year, TiVo inked a similar deal with the Omnicom Group, New York.

TiVo also will announce at least six charter advertiser deals with marketers in the pharmaceutical, beer, beverage and package goods categories. Two, as yet undisclosed automobile marketers have also inked deals with TiVo. The year-long, flat-fee charter advertiser deals offer marketers select discounts and an opportunity to participate on TiVo's advisory board.

TiVo currently has 73,000 subscribers, but company expects to disclose a fourth quarter addition to that number this week.
(Contributing Tobi Elkin)

IN OTHER NAPTE NEWS

Fox Television Network has agreed to let its affiliates move the troubled Fox Kids Network weekday kids programming block to an earlier time period, according to network and station executives here at the meeting of the National Association of Television Program Executives (natpeonline.com). This September, Fox affiliates will move back the kids block to 2-4 p.m. EST from 3-5 p.m.. Station executives say by freeing up the 4-5 p.m. hour they'll program older skewing syndication programming and be able to sell more adult-targeted advertisers -- rather than weaker local kids advertisers. "It's a very important time period as a lead-in to our early fringe programming," said Cullie Tarleton, chairman of the board of governors for the Fox affiliates. Fox affiliates are in the third year of a 10 year pact with Fox to run the Fox Kids Network, which includes Saturday mornings and weekday programming. In other Fox-related news: In spite of an outcry among public interest groups, as well as an FCC commissioner, concerning the provocative on-air promos of Fox reality series "Temptation Island," Fox affiliates say there is no virtually no concern with airing the program. Only one station, WRAZ-TV, the Raleigh-Durham, NC, has elected not the run the show. Concerning local advertising, Cullie Tarleton, chairman of the board of governors for Fox affiliate, said, "To my knowledge none of our Fox stations has had any advertiser call and say, 'I don't want any spots in "Temptation Island."'" Last week, Fox Television Network decided to pull airings of the promos for the show that run in early evening family-oriented shows, "Malcolm in the Middle" and "King of the Hill."

"The spots were sexier than the actual show," said Madeline Bonnot, vice president and general manager of WVUE-TV, New Orleans. ...

WWF Entertainment's new XFL football league, to be aired by NBC, UPN, and cable network The National Network starting in February, has been getting some mixed local advertising results, according to station executives. Jack Sander, chairman of the board of governors for the NBC affiliates, said the lack of experience in selling a young male demo, 12-34, has probably hurt NBC affiliates. "We didn't think about this early enough. We probably should have been more aggressive with fast food, movie business and soft drink companies," he said.

However, UPN affiliates reports better results -- probably because of its success with a TV show of similar audience appeal -- WWF Entertainment's "Smackdown." Al Devaney, a UPN affiliate board member, and president and general manager of WPWR-TV, Chicago, reports that local sales are very strong. WWF Entertainment, which sells all national TV advertising time in the XFL, says 60% of the show's commercial inventory is sold out. Advertising agency executives says this is a good start.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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