The CW Name: Awareness High, But Alertness Unknown

The name of the network game only goes so far.

CW executives say its name recognition as a new network has an amazingly high 48 percent awareness level from its 18-34 target audience.

That was some of the data released from the company's presentation to advertisers yesterday during its first program development meeting. The network launches in September--coming out of the ashes of the WB and UPN.

Considering the CW has no major ad campaign as yet--no TV, radio, or print presence--that seems like an astounding number, a kind of association struggling cable networks can only salivate over.

What does that say? It says something--but not everything.

It says that CW is dealing with a double-edged sword. That awareness most assuredly came from a place young viewers go to the most for the truth--the Internet. The flip side is this: awareness doesn't mean interest.



Come September, how many will actually be watching CW--not making snipes and wisecracks over the Internet? You know these crazy kids. Sarcasm is their currency in language.

While awareness speaks volumes, it doesn't address those deeper research measures when it comes to entertainment choices--that being "definite interest" and "first choice." First choice is actually the top measure--hardest to get-- referring to theatrical movie openings. Movie-goers who identify a particular movie that they'll rush to when it opens--over all others offered by a local multiplex--will have a high "first choice" percentage.

So now the real work starts: getting those 18- to 34-year-old viewers interested to come to a cool CW, making it even hipper for those devotees of the WB or UPN. Otherwise all that awareness means lots of other things no executives really want.

Imagine young viewers tapping out their true insights on a media message board somewhere: "Dude! Can you imagine? Those corporate media bozos are trying to manipulate guys like you and me into buying into something called the CW, watching some of their lame TV shows I've already seen on WB or UPN. Nothing new here; just another TV network. Actually it's worse: a broadcast network. My father says it's just another way the man is keeping us down.

"Tell everyone to watch C-SPAN in September. That'll mess them up."

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