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Turner Touts Webs Role in Media Plans

New York-With its advertisers apparently persuaded to shift more ad dollars from the broadcast-television networks to cable, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. unveiled its "TV-Web Planning Guide" last week.

The aim: to convince more clients to buy network television and cable in conjunction with the Internet as a way to increase audience reach.

Turner's "Media at the Millennium" research studies in 1997 and 1998 led to a shift of "perhaps $500 million" from TV to cable within the first year, Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. executive vice president of research and marketing Barry Fischer said.

Those studies claimed that clients could reallocate some network-TV dollars into network cable without a loss in audience reach.

The idea behind the new planning guide, according to Cable News Network president of sales and marketing Larry Goodman, is to get the ad community to plan and buy integrated TV, cable and Web spots as the best way to target hard-to-reach, mostly upscale adults who are light TV viewers.

At a press briefing last week, Goodman added that he hoped this study would help to convince clients to consolidate their TV/cable and Web buying at one shop. He made a similar point the week before in a speech before the Association of National Advertisers' Advertising Financial Management Conference in Naples, Fla.

"It's probably too late to impact this year's upfront," Goodman conceded. It took months to complete the latest Nielsen Media Research customer analysis, and "[this is] when it was ready," he added. But the study will now become annual, and next year's update should be ready by "the end of April."

All told, Goodman said, 2,200 copies of the research will be mailed to the ad community. Those scheduled to get early copies last week included media executives at Leo Burnett Co.'s Starcom Media Services, DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc.'s Optimum Media arm, McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, Mindshare USA (the media-buying unit for J. Walter Thompson Co. and Ogilvy & Mather) and TN Media Inc.

The fact that upscale adults are light viewers has more to do with their being affluent and busy than with their having greater Internet access than most, Goodman and CNN vice president of marketing services Sherrill Mane said at the briefing.

Since all TV underdelivers affluent consumers, Goodman observed, advertisers' Internet buys can now supplement their TV/cable buys in much the same way as cable used to supplement their TV buys.

"Cable networks with a strong Web presence garner some of the greatest reach levels," according to TBSI's executive summary accompanying the new research guide, which added that cable news services and their companion Web sites reach one-fifth of all adults with Internet access at home.

While the soon-to-merge America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc. should be beneficiaries if advertisers act on this study, Goodman pointed out that this project actually began eight months ago, well before that deal.

After the briefing, Goodman said CNN, unlike Turner's entertainment networks, is not yet far along in its upfront sales. That's because CNN does a lot of calendar-year deals late in the upfront marketplace and scatter deals, which follow the upfront.

But CNN does not compete with the "Big Three" TV networks' news upfronts, he added, because CNN's audience skews heavily male and upscale, whereas the broadcasters skew female and lower-scale. For that reason, the TV networks' evening newscasts attract many packaged-goods clients like Kraft Foods Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., while CNN does not.