LOS ANGELES: US television networks are launching major marketing campaigns to capture the attention of the nation's undergraduates. The pursuit of this demographic has shot up broadcasters' agenda following Nielsen Media Research's inclusion in its audience ratings of college students living away from home [WARC News: 30-Jan-07].

Networks such as CW - a joint venture between CBS and Warner Brothers and aimed at a younger audience - have spotted the potential for more advertising dollars as 17.4 million pairs of student eyes come into the ratings equation.

CW is now organizing college parties themed around its shows and has engaged the services of a group of students on twenty campuses across the country to promote the events.

In addition, the network has tapped New York-headquartered Alloy Media + Marketing, a specialist in offbeat tactics, to plaster pictures from CW's key shows across campuses, including bathrooms, dining halls and dormitory hallways.

The Walt Disney Company's ABC Entertainment has also ramped up its efforts across colleges. Declares marketing evp Michael Benson: "This is the type of audience that we want to get."

Adds Samantha Skey, evp of strategic marketing at Alloy: "These are tomorrow's great consumers. You have to grab them and convert loyalty at this age."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff