Grey to Raise Curtain on BTN

Shop Wins Media, Creative Duties for Budding B’way Network
NEW YORK–Grey Entertainment has won the media and creative duties for the Broadway Television Network, which last week unveiled its maiden venture, a plan to provide Broadway theater performances live on pay-per-view for $35 each.
The account was awarded last week without a review, said Susan Lee, the client’s chief marketing officer.
Billings have not yet been determined, but Lee said BTN plans to spend $1 million per show, with at least 12 scheduled over the next five years. The New York client has not worked with an agency before.
“Theater is one of the last global art forms without a television component,” Lee said, noting Grey’s global marketing capabilities.
She cited the New York shop’s experience in promoting Broadway productions and films, as well as its connections to cable TV (Time Warner Cable is a client) and understanding of strategic consumer marketing, as reasons for the win.
Lee had also worked with Grey Entertainment in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when she served as director of marketing at The League of American Theatres and Producers.
A national campaign is scheduled to break in the second or third quarter and will “aggressively promote” its first offering, Smokey Joe’s Cafƒ. Its last performance was taped two weeks ago.
BTN’s first real-time-event broadcast, Live From Broadway, One Night Only, has not been determined, Lee said.
BTN was established four years ago with financial backing from Citigroup and the Shubert, Nederlander, SFX and Jujamcyn theater organizations.
Gerry Logue, president at Grey Entertainment, said Steve Yorra, agency director of account services, and Rob Jacobson, senior creative director, will head up the business from the account and creative sides, respectively.
Logue said the shop will initially begin establishing BTN’s brand identity, but will develop custom campaigns for each show.
Grey Entertainment now claims $240 million in billings and has promoted the Broadway productions It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues and Waiting in the Wings, as well as such off-Broadway shows as Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Killer Joe.
BTN also plans to license digital distribution of the live performances to home video, DVD, cable and broadcast TV.