TBS Taps Disney as Microseries Sponsor

TBS continues to blur the line between programming and commercial content, as the Turner network preps the third installment of My Manny, a serialized microseries set to unspool during episodes of Meet the Browns.

Sponsored by Disney Parks, the My Manny segments will bow Feb. 24 on TBS, within specialized pods sprinkled throughout the 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. showings of Meet the Browns. The new two-minute segments pick up where the previous My Manny executions left off, leading viewers from the first kiss shared by Jennifer (Elise Neal) and Mike (Sharif Atkins) to a surprise trip to Walt Disney World Resort.

Along with a continuation of the storyline that began in 2008, the My Manny snippets offer Disney a chance to show off the attractions of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Toward the conclusion of the five-week run, a character integration will introduce viewers to Disney’s newest franchise character, Princess Tiana. (The star of the theatrical Princess and the Frog made her debut at Walt Disney World last October, about a month before the film premiered. Opening weekend receipts for the new animated feature totaled $25.2 million; through Jan. 14, Princess Tiana and her amphibian friend have pulled in $93.5 million in domestic box office.)

The My Manny spots are just one front in the war on audience churn. “TBS has seen a large amount of success with our microseries by offering our partners creative ways to retain viewers during commercial breaks … and integrate their brand in a natural storyline,” said Linda Yaccarino, executive vp and chief operating officer of Turner Entertainment ad sales/marketing and acquisitions, adding that the Meet the Browns target demo offers Disney Parks “a creative way to reach a diverse audience.”  

Meet the Brown is one of TV’s most-watched series among African-Amercians 18-49, averaging 1.11 million members of the demo per episode. According to Nielsen ratings data, the TBS comedy trails only Fox’ American Idol among that particular demographic.

A year ago, My Manny ran throughout episodes of Meet the Browns’ sibling series, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. That incarnation was sponsored by General Motors.

My Manny is one of a number of microseries developed by the Turner Commercialization Task Force, an unofficial think tank led by Yaccarino. Previous executions include TNT’s Dodge-sponsored Lucky Chance and the Acura-supported Blank Slate, both of which ran within acquired series.

Upon comparison of live programming and C3 data, both Turner entertainment networks retain about 96 percent of their respective 18-49 audiences. Two years ago, the retention rate for both nets during commercial pods was closer to 93 percent.