TURNER UNITS TRY ADS TO BROADEN WRESTLING AUDIENCE: TNT, WCW ALSO PLAN FLORIDA EVENT TO HIKE HIP AUDIENCE

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Turner Network Television this week launches an ad push for its World Championship Wrestling programming that aims to broaden WCW's popularity among the core 18 to 24 demographic by portraying it as hip entertainment.

The campaign from Grey Entertainment, New York, pushes the "WCW Monday Nitro Live!" 2-hour block on TNT, and will use print ads in national consumer magazines as well as outdoor boards, commuter rail cards, bus shelter ads and wild postings in the top markets.

"It is our goal to extend wrestling's popularity to a new audience," said Scot Safon, TNT's senior VP-marketing.

ADS USE B&W IMAGES

"The rules have changed" is the theme of what will be an ongoing campaign. Ads feature b&w portraits of WCW wrestling stars such as Hulk Hogan, Rey Mysterio Jr. and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. The photos were taken by noted photographer Andrew Eccles.

Efforts to boost WCW this year also include "WCW Monday Nitro: Spring Break-Out," a three-day event in Panama City, Fla., aimed at college-age consumers that will culminate in a March 10 telecast. Turner plans cable-operator promotions to support.

Both TNT and WCW are subsidiaries of Turner Broadcasting System. WCW competes against the World Wrestling Federation, whose programming airs on USA Network and is also available through pay-per-view.

TNT's "WCW Monday Nitro" is one of basic cable's highest-rated weekly series,

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