CW's Fallout: Less Marketing For UPN And WB In Coming Months

You think there's trouble now in the new land of CW--just think about the marketing of TV shows on UPN and WB over the next 8 months.

In regard to the new network, the CW, soon-to-be-former UPN or WB network affiliates are now saying: Why promote either network in the next coming months? News Corp. has already said that. It will have nine of its UPN affiliates in the top 25 markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, suddenly become independent stations as of September.

But there are other station groups as well. Former WB or UPN affiliates are considering stripping network logos from all on-air branding messages and off their local newscasts. Other stations are looking to cut back on advertising of specific shows, as well. This could hurt fragile but growing programs like "Everybody Hates Chris," "Veronica Mars," and "Supernatural."

Hurting languishing shows is the last thing the new CW needs. It is already going to take a lot of marketing and media effort to rebrand what UPN and WB have built up since 1995. How much more will they need if stations lower the messaging on what will become CW's shows?



Many marketing executives note that it's WB's and UPN's programs--not the network names--that are the real brand names, stuff like "Everwood," "7th Heaven" and yes, WWE's "Smackdown." Still, concerning the network names, WB, of the two, had the better known one.

The question should also be poised to CBS and Warner Bros. What will they do for their respective soon-to-be-dead networks in the coming months? Killing off the networks makes sense because of their long-time money losing operations. So why promote now? Why throw good money after bad?

The stations' mentality could run along similar lines. They have nothing to lose right now, so stop spending marketing money. It doesn't sound so crazy. Already station executives are hearing that long-term national spot advertisers want to pull advertising off their air for the fall--or at least put the money on hold--until they see what the new network becomes.

That's a double whammy: Stations won't promote shows and advertisers don't want to buy them.

Not a great way of starting a new network.

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