'Forensic' Push Uses Multiscreen Approach

To augment ratings for its most popular show, Court TV wants to drive viewers to three screens this month.

The push for the legal network's watch-and-win promotion behind Forensic Files
begins today (Jan. 6), with backing on the silver screen, the TV and computers.

"Court TV's Forensic Files
Watch and Win" contest is supported by on-air promos and movie-theater ads that direct consumers to a Web site (www.courttv.com/forensics), where they can answer show-related questions and register to win weekly prizes during January.

According to Court TV senior vice president of marketing Evan Shapiro, the network will allocate some $3 million worth of promos touting the premiere installments of Forensic Files, to air on Wednesday nights in January. Spots within the show and the net's primetime schedule will encourage viewers to hit the Web site for a weekly chance to win a grand prize: either a home computer system or season passes to Loews Cineplex Entertainment theaters.

For its part, Loews will promote the contest via on-screen slide ads at 155 theaters flying the Loews, Cineplex Odeon, Star or Magic Johnson Theatres banners. Shapiro said moviegoers will be greeted by cardboard standees touting the watch-and-win event, while TV monitors in theater lobbies in the top 53 markets will run the promo featured on Court TV's air.

In New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Philadelphia, local cable affiliates are tying in with the promo, running cross-channel avails system-wide, in exchange for mentions on the theater standees, according to Shapiro.

Denny's restaurants, Verizon Wireless and Florida's Natural orange juice are helping to underwrite the cost of the contest, via sponsorship packages that include various levels of on-screen and materials exposure.

Shapiro said the effort behind Forensic Files
follows a similar marketing endeavor tied to the network's I, Detective
series in October, which included Burger King Corp. as a sponsor.

"Companies are seeing the value of being attached to our shows and these kinds of promotions," he said. "Our research shows that viewers pay close attention to our programming, so these kind of events work well."

Forensic Files is Court's highest-rated series. Its premiere installments averaged a 1.0 household rating in 2002, according to Nielsen Media Research data.