Upfront 07

A Young Network Looks to Push Its Young Demo

Road to the Upfront: The CW

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The TV upfront is right around the corner, and Advertising Age is here to help you keep track of the players in both broadcast and cable. This week we look at the CW.
Bill Morningstar, exec VP-ad sales
Bill Morningstar, exec VP-ad sales

The player: The CW

Key execs: Dawn Ostroff, entertainment president, and Bill Morningstar, exec VP-ad sales

The ratings game: For the week of March 25, "America's Next Top Model" ranked in the top 10 among women 18 to 34. The CW isn't doing much better among 18- to 34-year-olds than predecessor WB, averaging a 1.4 rating and 910,000 live viewers. Among 18- to 49-year-olds, it rated 1.2 and drew 1.5 million viewers. The CW is averaging a 1.5 rating over the WB's 1.4.

What you'll hear: "The message is we are hardwired into the 18- to 34-year demographic in every way, shape or form, and intend to ultimately own that audience," a spokesman for the network said.

Digital game: The network aims to be everywhere its young audience is, and has launched initiatives including "model avatar" for cellphones. It teamed with T-Mobile in March to push "Gilmore Girls" viewers to the CW website for a pop-culture test.

Last year's upfront: Estimates ranged from $600 million to $650 million, flat with the WB. One big hit was the idea of content wraps, which are mini-programs that involve viewers while promoting a product.

The buyer's verdict: Kris Magel, senior VP-account director, Zenith Media, said: "They are definitely open to experimenting and trying new things with advertisers. ... We would have liked to see them explode out of the gate, but it's difficult to brand a new network."
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