The CW's Kids' Block Meets Ad Goals

The CW has taken over the selling and programming of the Kids WB! Saturday-morning programming block. And the results are anything but child's play. Although pricing has been weak or flat this upfront season for many TV kids' programmers in the $800 million kids' TV ad market, CW heads into the new season on a high note.

"We have limited inventory supply, and we have exceeded our goals," says Bill Morningstar, executive vice president of advertising sales for CW--explaining how the net achieved good prices, although he wouldn't elaborate on financials. In previous years, Time Warner's Cartoon Network sold the Kids WB! ad time, as well as the Monday-to-Friday Kids WB! block.

The CW has sold out the key "hard eight" weeks that lead into the winter-holiday selling season for the Kids WB!

Kids' TV media-buying executives say the CW, as well as other broadcast Saturday-morning kids' networks, benefited from advertisers shifting money from bigger players, such as Nickelodeon, which became too pricey.



While the new Kids WB! is still a boys' 6-11 programming block, Shelly Hirsch, CEO of Beacon Media LLC, a kids' media-buying company, says the new Kids WB! will do better with advertisers because it will attract more of a dual audience--girl viewers. That's thanks to the inclusion of "Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue" and "Tom & Jerry Tales."

Over the years, Nickelodeon has pushed up its pricing, versus that of its broadcast network programmers. Now, Nick, ABC, CBS, Fox and CW get around a $15 to $16 CPM for kids 2-11. Some years ago, the broadcast networks' pricing was much higher, at around $25 to $27 CPMs. The same is true for boys 6-11, where pricing has dropped substantially for the networks, now at $27 to $30 CPMs for boys' 6-11 viewers.

Morningstar says entertainment accounts--theatrical and DVDs--have been fairly strong for the network. He adds that toy advertising has been fairly stable, too. "The business is now spread out among other [smaller] toy accounts," he notes, in reference to bigger companies, such as Hasbro and Mattel.

But other categories are still trouble spots, such as video games and food companies. "Food companies have had some issues," admits Morningstar, in reference to consumer groups' concerns about child-obesity issues.

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