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New York, History Channel Are Co-Marketers

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NEW YORK New York has entered into its second major marketing partnership, this time with The History Channel, which will provide the city with $19.5 million that will be used to boost tourism and promote New York's history, city officials said today.

The History Channel will provide $15 million for advertising New York City as a tourist destination, $3.5 million for historic preservation and $1 million to produce five, one-hour segments about the city that will air on the cable channel. THC will also sponsor an Official History Center, owned and operated by the city (set to open in May); develop city historical tours; and package advertising and programming featuring New York City that will be seen on the channel.

"Tourism is one of our top industries, but we don't spend anywhere near what our competitors do on national advertising," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement. "We need to market New York City more aggressively, and The History Channel partnership will help accomplish that."

The History Channel will air 30-second spots promoting New York City tourism on THC and its affiliated network. The city will provide an outdoor media package to promote the partnership.

While there will be no co-branded logo, the city and the channel will split advertising duties, said Lisa Kraynak, senior vice president of marketing for New York City Marketing Development Corp. THC will produce 30 percent of the ads promoting the partnership, while New York will create 70 percent. The city has not yet determined who will develop those ads.

"The city is getting out of it much needed resources, in terms of cash and much needed media value," said Kraynak. "We don't have a designated ad budget for tourism and other cities do. Las Vegas has over $100 million" to spend on tourism advertising, she said.

In return, THC will be associated with a number of initiatives it is helping to fund, including the refurbishment of historic sites and monuments and a bus tour contracted by the channel independently with Gray Line. The History Channel will be able "to reach their viewers in a completely different way," Kraynak said.

The deal is a non-exclusive partnership that allows New York and THC to enter into similar agreements with other parties. As such, it is not subject to the bidding process that has caused some controversy surrounding the city's deal with Snapple. City Comptroller William Thompson Jr. sued in State Supreme Court in April to block the Snapple deal, but a judge later sided with New York, allowing Snapple products to be sold in vending machines on city property, according to Kimberly Spell, a spokesperson for the city.

Spell added that the city is appealing a part of the judge's decision that requires deals involving intellectual property to be put before the Franchise and Concession Review Committee. That appeal is due to be heard in January or February. In the meantime, the deal with THC is scheduled to be reviewed by the FCRC in February.