Commentary

Conventional Wisdom, Or The CW: Young TV Viewers Can't Name All The The Broadcast Networks

What are those 12- to 34-year-olds doing between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m every night?

The clichéd answer is playing video games, watching MTV, updating their profile in MySpace, watching "The O.C.," or talking on their cell phones.

Now here comes some other info:  According to Bolt Media--the company that gave you that young Internet site, bolt.com--only one of four 12 to 34-year-olds can name all four broadcast networks, thus confirming that those young viewers are doing something else.

The five most-watched TV networks, according to the poll, were Fox, Comedy Central, ABC, MTV and Cartoon Network.

What about the fifth or sixth broadcast networks? Research didn't seem to ask.

But we have other stuff. Earlier research from CBS and Warner Bros. says--somewhat astoundingly--that over half of those same 12- to 34-year-olds are aware of The CW, a network that isn't even on the air.

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How can that be?

We aren't sure--especially since the CW hasn't done any TV brand campaign, hasn't done any outdoor or Internet advertising , hasn't done what all networks do, advertise on its own airwaves. All this would be entertainment marketing genius. 

Some executives have been scratching their heads for months. How can you get any awareness without a traditional marketing campaign? They say you can't--that it is impossible.

 If, indeed, CBS/Warner Bros. have that kind of awareness for their CW--without the help of TV--it should stop selling TV advertising time immediately. Apparently it is not necessary for advertisers to get awareness for their products on The CW.  Why be hypocrites? If the CW can do without--so can other advertisers.

If you can get 50 percent awareness without spending millions on network TV, or even cable, syndication or local station television, you don't have a good argument for starting a TV network--any TV network.

Sure, you're saying, what about the Internet. What about viral marketing? That's not enough. Take a hint from the movie companies.

When they go after those same 12- to 34-year-olds for their movies, they buy television--in particular, Thursday night TV. Sure, the movie companies are tiptoeing their way onto the Internet. But, in reality, to get their big awareness research numbers--those all-important NRG numbers--the bulk of their marketing efforts come from spending  $10 million or $20 million in TV time, just to get on the awareness radar.

The CW has spent virtually zero. And, somehow, it has already gotten to that magic 50 percent number. That would mean it is rewriting the business of entertainment marketing.

This week we'll learn how the CW plans to get the awareness of those 12- to 34-year-olds directed towards its new TV schedule.

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