Here Networks put awareness push behind Ribbon of Hope airing

LOS ANGELES: Here Networks has launched a public awareness campaign in conjunction with the first-ever broadcast of TV Cares' Ribbon of Hope Celebration in April.

LOS ANGELES: Here Networks has launched a public awareness campaign in conjunction with the first-ever broadcast of TV Cares' Ribbon of Hope Celebration in April.

TV Cares, the AIDS-awareness committee of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, held its 10th annual awards show in November. The broadcast, which will be the Academy's only branded telecast aside from the Emmys, will be offered free on Here to approximately 50 million US homes as an incentive to reach new network subscribers.

To generate awareness in the program itself, Here is working with LA-based Chasen & Co. to reach three diverse audiences, said Stephen Macias, SVP corporate and marketing communications. A four-month media relations campaign targets mainstream outlets, the television industry, and the gay and lesbian community. TV Cares is also attaching its message to GLBT-focused events around the country, and Here promoted the awards show at its annual "Outfest Queer Brunch" at last month's Sundance Film Festival.

"Our goal is to encourage content makers to continue to make the kinds of programs that educate and inform people," Macias said.

The programs honorees, which this year include ABC's General Hospital, Showtime's The L Word, and HBO's Yesterday, have helped the industry make significant strides in public awareness, Macias said. "But it's absolutely eye-opening, how far we still need to go."

Macias said that some viewers of General Hospital, which is part of ABC daytime programming that reaches three million viewers daily, according to the Nielsen Television Index, may get their only experience with AIDS from the show. "In a world that still ostracizes folks that are sick," Macias noted, "awareness and education help combat disease."

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