Super Bowl

CBS drafts MTV to create Super Bowl programming

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In an effort to attract younger viewers to CBS' telecast of the Super Bowl, sibling MTV will produce the halftime show as well as one pre-game hour.

John Popkowski, president of MTV Networks Advertising Sales USA, confirmed the cable network will produce the halftime event and may do other shorter-form Super Bowl programming.

No details of the production are set, but there is little doubt the show will include major music talent from MTV.

"It will have a MTV-type of spin," said Mr. Popkowski about the show. "I think this will attract some younger viewers to the Super Bowl."

LIVE-EVENT EXPERIENCE

One veteran advertising agency executive also noted that CBS has made presentations to advertisers touting that MTV would produce the first hour of CBS' pre-game broadcast next January.

CBS executives are convinced MTV is the right production group for the job because of its work on live events such as the "MTV Movie Awards" and its spring break programming, Mr. Popkowski said.

The recently completed merger of CBS and Viacom, MTV's parent company, has moved Mel Karmazin, president-chief operating officer of Viacom, to push for synergies between all divisions of the two companies.

For instance, it was recently announced that Nickelodeon, an MTV network, would program CBS' Saturday morning kids block starting this fall.

In an unusual move, Nickelodeon won't sell any national advertising in the program block until fall 2001. Mr. Popkowski said running the programming commercial-free was done to give Nickelodeon time to build up its programming base. Additionally, when the decision was made to program for CBS, the kids advertising upfront market had already taken place.

ABC broadcast this year's Super Bowl and, as with CBS and MTV, sibling company Walt Disney Productions produced the halftime show.

`PRESENTING SPONSORSHIPS'

Separately, CBS has structured pre-game advertising deals for the Super Bowl in which one advertiser would be sold "presenting sponsorships" for each of the six pre-game hours the network will program. This could include major billboards in addition to commercial time.

An advertising executive said this is being done to give advertisers the appearance of "owning" that particular hour of programming.

Additionally, CBS is looking into giving advertisers some form of product placement during the pre-game show.

According to executives close to the network, Zale Corp.'s Zales Jewelers division and Charles Schwab & Co. each have bought one of those major pre-game advertising packages.

Media executives said CBS has sold about half its inventory in the Super Bowl game itself. CBS had been asking $2.5 million for a 30-second spot.

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