Court TV: It’s All About the CPI

New York -- This year, Court TV is tying much of its upfront pitch to the CPI.

No, the investigation network is not doling out data about the consumer-price index, but, rather, cost per involvement point -- a metric that gauges how effective Court TV is as a place to run ads against its highly interested and compelled viewers.

Court TV officials put their CPI story forward to an upfront press breakfast gathering here Monday morning.

Combining customized data from Nielsen Media Research with findings from Simmons Market Research Bureau, MRI and other researchers, the network has devised a mathematical formula melding TV interest, receptivity to advertising, viewers’ full attention to any program on a service, advertising interest and unaided brand recall.

This involvement measure is then multiplied against a standard CPM (cost per thousand homes) -- $9.83 for primetime against adults 18-49, as determined by Media Dynamics Inc. for the 2003-04 TV season -- to compute the cost per thousand involved (CPMI, or CPI for short).

Given those criteria, Court TV had a CPI of $47.40, second only to GSN’s $44.85.

Executive vice president and general manager of sales Charlie Collier took attendees through an overview of these processes, backed by graphics highlighting the network’s CPI versus those of other services.

The message: The lower the increase from the CPM to the CPI, the more efficient the buy against involved viewers.

This gambit is part of Court TV’s overall upfront theme of the return of investigation, which itself plays into clients’ wont for increased accountability about advertising spending and proof of value of commercial schedules.

Specifically, the network also scored quite highly among a number of different measures versus 42 basic-cable networks against the coveted adults 18-49 set:

• Court TV ranked first in audience retention (95%) through commercials breaks.

• The network trailed only Lifetime Television (24 minutes) in terms of length of tune-in (20 minutes).

• The service ranked fourth (a 113 index) with that demo relative to viewers paying full attention to shows on a network.

• It had 14:12 of nonprogramming material per hour, ranking it 15th out of 43 networks in the clutter spectrum.

All of these elements underscored the message delivered by chairman and CEO Henry Schleiff at the top of the presentation: "Advertising works measurably harder on Court TV."

On the programming side, president and chief operating officer Art Bell talked up the network’s continuing expansion within its core programming realms of mystery and suspense and their attendant quotients of intellectual and emotional responses that keep viewers tied to the screen.

Looking to attract younger viewers, Court TV is adding series House of Clues, in which a trained duo will glean info by investigative profiling on homes, April 30; Impossible Heists, two teams competing by re-creating some of the most complex capers in criminal history; and The Chase, in which an elite tracking team chases down escapees.

Bell also announced a pair of telefilms: AJury of Her Peers, starring Jane Seymour in a true story of a woman exposing jury misconduct; and Chicago DNA, focusing on the early use of DNA to exonerate an innocent man.