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Upfronts 2018: CW has no plans to trim ad load


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Upfronts 2018: CW has no plans to trim ad load

With the addition of Sunday night to its lineup, The CW (US) doesn't intend to reduce the ad load within its overall programming slate.

Rob Tuck, executive vice president of national sales, speaking on a May 17 conference call with reporters ahead of the network’s upfront presentation, said that with the launch of its Sunday night lineup, the company’s available ad inventory would grow about 20% during the 2018-19 TV season.

Asked if the CW planned to follow such programmers as NBCUniversal Media LLC, 21st Century Fox Inc. and Turner Broadcasting System Inc., which are reducing their ad loads in primetime, Tuck acknowledged that is "the buzz around the industry," but said there are real cost considerations tied to "limited commercial runs."

He said clients are wary about the premiums associated with such gambits, which are aimed at enhancing the viewing experience and bringing more value to the messaging in terms of brand recall, affinity and purchase intent when positioned within in a less-cluttered ad environment.

"Clients are hesitant to foot the bill for the reduced loads," Tuck said, noting that the CW doesn’t plan to enact similar strategies at this time.

Marketing for the new night and shows — "Supergirl" at 8 p.m and a refreshed version of "Charmed" at 9 p.m. — will play out on the local and national levels.

Rick Haskins, executive vice president of marketing and digital programs, said there will be a strong push to let viewers in affiliate markets know that The CW will program on Sundays. He said the affiliate push will be supplemented by national marketing efforts.

CW President Mark Pedowitz said the decision to pair the shows was made with the idea that the network would come to market with an established series in "Supergirl" and a new, name-brand show in the refreshed "Charmed." "We wanted to show advertisers and affiliates that we’re serious about competing on Sunday nights," Pedowitz said on the call.

The CW gave Sunday night back to its affiliates nine years ago.

The network also announced that the upcoming TV season would mark the final original runs of "iZombie," "Jane the Virgin" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." "We will miss each of these shows in terms of what they’ve done. They’ve helped the perception of The CW across the board," said Pedowitz.

On stage, Pedowitz pointed out that "Supernatural," whose rookie season ran on The WB, will return for a 14th campaign that will include its 300th episode. He said the series has served as a launchpad for some of the network’s most successful series over the years.

This time, "Supernatural" will provide the lead-in for "Legacies," an offshoot of "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Originals" realm. "Legacies" was ordered straight to series and did not benefit from a sizzle reel at the presentation.

The other new fall entry, "All American," will follow the third season of the network’s hit "Riverdale," the live-action drama that puts dark twists on the "Archie" comic franchise.

Dramas "In the Dark" and "Roswell, NM" are in mid-season reserve.

The CW is operated by The CW Network LLC, a joint venture between CBS Corp.'s CBS Entertainment and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.