Turner appoints strategy leader amid off-air push

Turner Broadcasting has promoted UK marketing director Nibs Dearsley to manage the broadcaster’s communications strategy and team. The promotion comes as Dearsley, who oversees the commercial children’s channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami, looks to increase Turner’s off-air marketing activity to combat the “congested” kids’ TV market.

Dearsley says UK children’s TV is cluttered, with 25 channels at present. Many cannibalise each other’s audience with on-air campaigns, and the broadcaster’s strategy will now increasingly focus on reaching children out of home.

Cartoon Network and The Tussauds Group have brokered a deal that sees the channel’s animated characters feature in shows at theme parks Chessington World of Adventures and Alton Towers. The partnership is an extension of the channel’s on-air Draw-A-Toon competition.

The broadcaster recently resurrected the practice of showing short cartoons at cinemas before the main film – a campaign will run at the Odeon and Vue chains until the end of the year.

Last week, Cartoon Network signed a worldwide licensing deal with Mattel to produce action figures, puzzles and other toys based on its children’s TV shows. The first batch of toys will be released in 2007.

Dearsley joined Turner Broadcasting in March last year. Previously she worked as head of marketing at Jetix throughout Europe, where she was part of the team that rebranded the Disney-owned channel from Fox Kids, and as the marketing manager of Nickelodeon in the UK.

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