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CTAM: Conventional Wisdom

YORK -- Cable networks know there's more than one conventional venue to reach
rabid sci-fi and comic-book fans.

than a dozen networks showcased their new shows and stars this past weekend at
the New York Comic Con, which was estimated to draw more than 105,000 fans to a
packed Javits Center.

smaller than the summertime Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego,
which tops 130,000 attendees, cable marketers said the cozier atmosphere of the
Oct. 11-14 New York event works well for their entertainment-themed shows.

really a wonderful place to launch big movies and TV shows that are at the
front of entertainment," said Nancy McGee, executive vice president of
marketing for Starz, which made its first appearance at New York Comic Con with
a panel for its new drama series Da Vinci's
. "It's really the perfect place to unveil our shows. The Comic Con
core fan is someone who enjoys entertainment that focuses on extraordinary
stuff including horror, sci-fi and action/adventure."

(Walking Dead series), Syfy (Rise of the Zombies original movie) and Adult
Swim (Robot Chicken) felt right at
home with content appealing to the core horror and sci-fi Comic Con attendee.
But networks like Starz and Travel Channel believe there's room at the
convention for more general entertainment-driven shows as well.

you enjoy pop culture and the front edge of what's happening in entertainment,
it's an event that a lot of people can enjoy, not just people who are strictly
comic book fans," McGee said. "It's broadened so much, to include other types
of entertainment, that it attracts a big audience and press, which is good from
a marketing standpoint."

Channel hopes showing off reality series Toy
Hunter -
featuring renowned toy dealer and Comic Con veteran Jordan
Hembrough - will help build appeal among younger viewers. "The New York Comic
Con has been evolving over time as an important destination, but provides more
accessibility [to visitors than San Diego," Eleo Hensleigh, senior vice
president of marketing and communications for Travel Channel, said. "For us
it's a place where the younger part of our audience watches to see what's going

the increasing number of cable networks participating in Comic Con, some
executives are concerned that their shows could get lost in the crowd. But
Starz's McGee said the better, more-targeted shows will always stand out amid
the clutter.

you need is a show that can stand up and stand out to break through the crowd,"
she said. "Those shows will always grab [the attendee's] attention."