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AT&T BACKS HISPANIC PROGRAM ON PUBLIC TV;FUJI, STAPLES LINE UP SIMILAR DEALS

By Published on .

AT&T Corp. normally wouldn't fund a TV show without guaranteed distribution. But Advertising Manager Susan Campbell agreed to fund "Hispanic America: An Historical Evolution" for public TV stations.

Ms. Campbell was sold on the idea by Bill Robinson, who runs ESI, Petaluma, Calif., which calls itself a strategic marketing firm. Mr. Robinson's job is to persuade major corporations to underwrite education-based programs that dovetail with the sponsors' marketing messages, and then to get public TV stations across the country to air the shows, at no charge to the stations.

PHOTO, BUSINESS SHOWS

Among Mr. Robinson's other new clients: Fuji Photo Film USA and Staples. The Fuji program, "Photographing America," will be available later this year; and "We're in Business," an ambitious series of 13 half-hours about small-business entrepreneurs, sponsored by Staples, is slated for 1997.

CAMPBELL SAID YES

Officially chief marketing strategist for ESI, Mr. Robinson called on various executives at AT&T for months, trying to find the person with whom he could connect. Finally, he found Ms. Campbell.

No doubt the price was attractive as well: only $195,000 to underwrite a 1-hour program.

ESI works exclusively with filmmaker Bob Acosta and his Santa Barbara, Calif.-based DocuVision.

"Bob has a track record of getting shows picked up by the stations, so we didn't see a problem there," Ms. Campbell said.

DocuVision makes the shows available to the Southern Education Communications Association or the Pacific Mountain Network, distributors that feed shows to Public Broadcasting Service affiliates.

AT&T's "Hispanic America" hits the airwaves this month.

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