Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Expo TV luring Local Advertisers to VOD

Adelphia has implemented a new strategy for the emerging advertising opportunity in long-form video-on-demand commercials. Expo TV, (a VOD programming service) in partnership with Adelphia Media Services, has launched a nationwide effort to attract local advertisers to on-demand advertising by offering them exposure to its consumer audience. The network’s local advertising program allows cable operators to combine Expo TV's targeted consumer audience with their local on-demand platform, resulting in an improved level of support to sell and deliver a sustainable local on-demand audience.

"Reaching consumers when they're shopping or doing product research is a compelling proposition for our clients”, said Tom Feary, vice president of marketing at Adelphia Media Services. To participate in the opportunity on Expo TV through Adelphia Media Services, local advertisers buy a bundled package of VOD inventory within Expo's consumer categories and spots promoting the VOD content. Expo provides graphical and hosted 'wrappers' to introduce the local advertisers' content to create a consistent look and feel. The local advertisers are integrated into Expo's national categories while also being featured in a special "local city" category in each market.

Expo TV is currently available in over 4 million on-demand homes through cable distribution partners including Adelphia, Charter Communications, Insight Communications and Bresnan Communications. Link:
TVWeek Feb 27, ’06 – On-Demand Ads: Expotv is Adelphia’s new Tack

Monday, February 27, 2006

Product Placement goes Higher Tech

CBS’s sitcom "Yes, Dear" raised the bar on product placement technology last April when it added a box of Kellogg's crackers into the show after it was shot. Now this new technique for "digital product placement" is catching on fast throughout CBS sitcoms, and Fox may be next. Marathon Ventures, the company behind Digital Brand Integration, has created a technology that catalogs each frame of video and narrows down the list of placement options for potential advertisers. "We have created a system that allows everybody involved to make more money," said David Brenner, founder and president of Marathon. Link: News.com Feb 26,’06 – Digital Product Placement alters TV landscape

Friday, February 24, 2006

7 in 10 Adults Watch Broadcast News Several Times per week

Where do you get your news? 54% of American have a daily local TV News habit, and more than three out of four go there for news, if not every day, then several times a week. A new Harris Poll released today found that 77% of adults say they watch local TV news regularly and 64% say they go online for their news at least several times a week. Compare those numbers to "echo boomers" ages 18-27: 52% say they watch local TV news and 53% go online for their news on a regular basis. Meanwhile, even baby boomers get more news from the web (70%) than newspapers (66%). Links: Harris Interactive Feb 24, 2006 – Seven in Ten U.S. Adults

Thursday, February 23, 2006

News Corp. to Launch New Network

I wish I could pick stocks as easily as it was to see this news coming. Mere weeks after UPN and WB announced plans to consolidate the WB & UPN into one healthier "fifth" network, News Corp. is launching a new sixth broadcast network. The new network, dubbed My Network TV, fills a prime-time programming void for stations jilted by the merger into CW, and leverages a powerful new News Corp. asset: wildly popular online community MySpace.com. Links: MediaDaily News Feb 23, ’06 – News Corporation Does it ‘My’ Launches New 6th Network also BusinessWeek Feb 22, ’06 – A New Fox Network with a Twist and New York Times Feb 22, ’06 – News Corp Creates new Network for Orphaned Affiliates
PAST SMM Post: Feb 7, ’06 – Competition on the Horizon for CNBC from News Corp also Jan 24 ’06 – UPN + WB = CW

Monday, February 20, 2006

No Channel for Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball has scrapped its plans to launch a baseball channel, sources say. League owners had approved the channel 19 months ago, but personnel scheduled to be hired to launch the product have been told the channel is dead. Link: Mediaweek Feb 20, ’06 – MLB’s Baseball Channel Scrapped Past SMM Post: Feb 14, ’06 - When Will MLB have their next TV Deal

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Turner South may be Acquired by Fox

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Friday that Time Warner was deep in negotiations with Fox to divest Turner South. The deal could significantly add more sports rights deals to its regional sports network, FSN South. Turner South -- which has vaulted into cable’s top 10 in ratings on a number of occasions with its presentations of Atlanta Braves games -- aired 53 of the club’s contests in 2005, and it was expected to air around the same number during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

FSN South is the groups and the nation’s largest regional sports network, with 11.3 million subscribers in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North & South Carolina -- already has rights to some 25 Braves games that it can show in some markets. It also holds rights to Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies NBA games, as well as MLB’s Baltimore Orioles and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators.

Through a deal Turner Sports signed with MLB last November, TBS which will present around 70 Braves games each of the next two seasons, is slated to air 45 contests a year from 2008-12. However, it holds the rights to air more than 80 games on other regional and local networks within the Turner family. Those rights would presumably be assigned to the purchaser of Turner South. A Turner executive said that should the network be sold to Fox, the entertainment programming on Turner South could migrate to a broadband service. Since 1999, Turner South has offered an array of original fare centering on regional sensibilities with such programs as Southern Living Presents and Liars & Legends. Link:
AJC Feb 17, ’06 – Turner South sale to FoxMay be in works

UPDATE 02/24: News Corp’s Fox Networks Group has purchased regional cable channel Turner South for about $375 million (report by The Hollywood Reporter). The move will strengthen of Fox Sports South, the 11-million subscriber service that dominates cable sports in the South. Links: Mediaweek Feb 23, 06 – Fox Cable Nets Purchase Turner South and Broadcasting & Cable Feb 23, 06 – Time Warner Sells Turner South also The Hollywood Reporter Feb 24, 06 – Fox Cable Nets to acquire Turner South

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yahoo is Influential

Yahoo is the top Search Engine when rated by Influence to Purchase
Media influence and/or engagement are hot topics in today's ROI driven ad world, and when it comes to the top search engines Yahoo! is the overall #1 choice for most influential on purchase decisions and Google is number 4. The findings are from BIGresearch's latest Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMMVII), which surveyed over 15,000 respondents. "When you look at the impact of Internet Advertising on specific purchase decisions and not just click throughs, the impact of internet advertising is a different story," said Joe Pilotta, VP/Research at BIGresearch. Links: BIGresearch Press Release

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Nielsen Media to add College Students to national Sample

Media Daily News reports that on Tuesday Nielsen Media Research announced plans to add college students living away from home into its national TV ratings in early 2007, marking the first time it will incorporate a so-called "out-of-home" viewing segment into its regular ratings panel. Nielsen says the shift could boost estimates for some shows by as much as a full rating point. Links: MediaPost - Feb 15, 06 - Neilsen 101: Will add College Viewer, Boost Ratings by as much as 12%

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

When will Major League Baseball have their next TV Deal

Major League Baseball's broadcast TV deal will expire at the end of the upcoming season. Negotiations are underway and they hope to get it done before the season starts however, Fox allowed its exclusive period to expire without a deal because MLB demanded a 20% increase in its rights fee for the new contract. Now that the exclusivity has expired, MLB is also talking to NBC and ABC/ESPN, and fledgling OLN but no deal is imminent.

Baseball may have made a critical negotiating error in this round, however. By allowing the NFL, NASCAR and even Major League Soccer to secure their television deals first, baseball finds itself in the position of being the last one to the plate with the networks all having spent most of their sports budgets on everyone else. As a long time negotiator I can say it's never a good thing to be last. So add television rights negotiation to the list of business deals seemingly bungled by the Selig administration. It may be premature to judge this one as bungled, and he may yet pull it out, but my guess is that baseball will not get a significant rights fee increase, if any, and Selig should, but probably won't get blamed. Link:
MediaWeek Feb 13, '06 - MLB Struggles to Renew TV Rights Deals

Friday, February 10, 2006

Spot Runner signs Cendant

Cendant and Spot Runner strike Deal
This is a very effective way for a national company to assist their network of local brokers & agents. The Real Estate Services Division of Cendant and Spot Runner announced a deal for Spot Runner to provide preferred pricing on its television advertising production, planning and buying services to Cendant's 9,000 U.S.-based affiliated real estate offices and 260,000 sales associates. The agreement provides affiliates of Cendant's real estate brands (Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ERA and Sotheby's International Realty) with preferred pricing on TV commercial development costs while taking advantage of a selection of several hundred branded television commercials customized for Cendant's brands by Spot Runner. The program will be rolled out to Cendant-affiliated brokers and sales associates during the next several months. Co-founded by Nick Grouf and David Waxman, Spot Runner is an Internet-based ad agency that allows local businesses to manage their commercial production, planning and buying through a self-serve online platform. Spot Runner has populated Cendant's customized ad library with hundreds templated commercials designed to maximize the use of photos images that real estate agents have come to rely upon to sell properties. Spot Runner personalizes the ads with the agents' or brokers' own information, including their name, headshot, logos and their own digital images. Based on information provided by the clients, Spot Runner's media planning engine will recommend personalized media plans that include major local broadcast and cable channels such as Fox News, Bravo, Lifetime, A&E and HGTV. Past SMM Post: Jan 29, '06 - Spotlight on Spot Runner

Thursday, February 09, 2006

VOD Viewership

How to Measure viewership in an On-Demand World
With a VOD-enabled market estimated at 24 million homes, the medium offers more questions than answers at this point, chief among them the absence of a viable business model. Measurement of this new and rapidly growing non-linear medium is another major unknown. In theory, VOD offers the kind of targeting and accountability that marketers increasingly demand, yet for now it is undetermined just who is watching.

ErinMedia, TNS Media Research, Nielsen and others each have products (most in beta) that will begin to provide answers however there is one company that appears to show great promise. In 2004
RenTrak, which began tracking Video store rentals and box office returns, expanded into the VOD measurement business. It has since inked deals with 19 content producers and has contracts in place with 53% of VOD enabled homes through agreements with Comcast, Cablevision, Charter and other MSO’s. “We processed 1.7 billion VOD views last year versus 100 million in 2004,” reports Ken Papagan, Rentrak’s EVP of Business development. “That’s how rapidly the category’s growing.”

All the current products on the market are typically web-based tools, which can aggregate On-Demand transactions in real time, ultimately enabling clients to “interpret” VOD viewing trends. Although this is a dramatic improvement, they still lack the comprehensive picture that marketer’s desire. We will relook at this topic over the next 12 months as the new tools and products continue to develop.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Univision for Sale


Today’s surprise news announcement came from Univision Communications Inc. They stated that its Board of Directors has decided to begin a process to explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including but not limited to the raising of capital through the sale of securities or assets of the Company, a recapitalization, strategic acquisitions, and the combination, sale or merger of the Company with another entity. Don't count out anyone in this bidding process. Univision is the biggest catch there is in a red-hot sector, Hispanic media. Who might step up to make this purchase? Everyone who wants to be a bigger player in the US media landscape. If I were to speculate, I would focus on CBS, Time Warner, GE/NBC Universal and News Corporation. All except Time Warner would, at first glance, face ownership limit problems at the FCC not to mention that Time Warner is battling a break-up effort by Carl Icahn. But that is not an insurmountable problem. More on this as the detail become available. -SM

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Competition for CNBC on the Horizon from News Corp.

NewsWeek – Feb 6, 2006 - NEWS CORP. plans to launch a business news cable TV channel that would compete with CNBC, Chairman-CEO Rupert Murdoch tells the Feb. 13 edition of Newsweek magazine. In the interview, Murdoch also said he's not so keen to do a Apple iTunes download deal the way ABC and NBC have, and that he plans to offer broadband services via DirecTV. Murdoch also said he would likely make additional Internet acquisitions in the coming year.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Advertising Uprfont for VOD

Today, most VOD advertising is sold on a cost-per-impression basis and several companies in the industry are looking to change the current pricing models and are leading the way towards having their own advertising upfront this spring. Anime Network, RipeTV and Music Choice are trying to develop a separate upfront for the VOD marketplace this spring their network execs say it would establish much needed advertising standards, something advertisers may not be so eager to do. Today’s undefined buying practices provide marketers more freedom and flexibility to generate more bang for their buck. "Currently there are great inefficiencies in the ITV/on-demand advertising marketplace” said Rob Aksman, director of creative development for BrightLine Partners, an ITV and on-demand marketing firm. He believes that by having a range of pricing models means VOD programmers and operators are competing with each other for advertiser dollars, and that would be good for the advertiser. Link: TVWeek.com Feb 06, 2006 - On-Demand Nets vie for own Ad Meet

Super Bowl XL Ad Dust Settles

or has it? - Go Ahead and Watch the Ads
Did you miss them during that run for snacks well don't worry I’ve tracked down all the Super Bowl advertising action for you. This year several marketers’ integrated online campaigns into their Super Bowl ads and all marketers made their Super Bowl ads available for online viewing.

  • Advertising Age has a put together a collection of the most memorable spots

  • Posted in the order in which they appeared see them on AOL Sports. Don’t forget to vote on your favorite and see which ad is rated the highest!

  • Clever gags score big according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • USATODAYS.com is running and compiling votes with their 18th Annual Ad Meter
More interesting reviews can be found here - Links: See what my friends at AdRants had to say about them.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

First run Web Programming Deals Stacking up

First run TV series on the Web
NBC, has announced plans to offer an interactive reality TV series exclusively on its Web site. Entitled "StarTomorrow," the participation-TV show will invite viewers to select a band or singing group to receive a recording contract with legendary music producer, Tommy Mattola. Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC Universal cable entertainment stated that the program is an important project for the company. “This is the first time NBC will be distributing a network-quality program exclusively online." The show is scheduled to debut this summer on NBC.com.

In another announcement, AOL is teaming up with Mark Burnett to develop a reality TV treasure-hunt show that will air exclusively on AOL's Web site. Entitled "Gold Rush!," the show will track what AOL describes as "real-life challengers" as they search for hidden treasure across the US. Burnett feels that his partner AOL clearly wants a lot more content than can be enjoyed during one hour of television per week. He states that “the world is changing and the Internet is about to become the next broadcast network. With the volume of people able to watch content on their computers between 9:00AM to 5:00PM, it could very well become the new primetime.”

Not to be out done, rival Internet portal, Yahoo!, is currently developing a Web-based scavenger hunt show, called "Treasure Hunt," and there have been mutterings that Mark Burnett, who has also been working with Yahoo! on a Web-based reality show called "The Runner," took the idea for "Gold Rush" from "Treasure Hunt." Burnett of course denies the accusation.

I’m sure that we will be seeing a lot more exclusive Web programming deals in the very near future.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

See the Super Bowl XL Ads

Comcast VOD, Ifilm.com & NFL.com to deliver Super Bowl XL Commercials

As we all know, many people watch the Super Bowl just to see what kind of clever advertising marketers can come up with for $2.5 million per :30. Recognizing opportunity, Comcast, Ifilm.com and NFL.com are capitalizing on it by offering up alternate ways to catch the ads again (for perhaps for the first time).

After ABC’s broadcast of Super Bowl XL is over, Comcast digital customers will still be able to watch Super Bowl commercials through Comcast’s video-on-demand service. Yahoo states it will feature links to this year's Super Bowl ads on its video home page,
http://video.yahoo.com/, hosted at MTV Networks' http://ifilm.com/. Ads will be available for view during the game, but at a delay from the time they air. Fans can also access Super Bowl XL commercials on NFL.com, the NFL’s Internet site, from Feb. 6-12.

For those of you who just can't get enough Super Bowl of ads, Go see: The 2006 Preview from Super Bowl-Ads.com or here's a great historical at About.com - Funny Super Bowl TV Commercials, 1998-2005
Digg Story

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

NBC gives Station Web Sites Facelift

MediaPost reports that NBC UNIVERSAL is upgrading its owned TV stations' Internet efforts with top-level Internet tools--a move that could send a message to its affiliates as those stations look to make sense of recent high-profile programming on-demand network deals. NBC's 14 stations will get an Internet facelift, including increased video, Web-exclusive content, podcasts, and other wireless applications. WMAQ Chicago, WNBC New York, and KXAS Dallas have already started up the new format, the others will follow during the next 11 months. Link: MediaDaily Feb 1, ’06 – NBC Universal Ramps Up its Stations’ Web Sites

Equal Time On TV and Web

Consumers are spending more time with media than ever before. In 2005, TV use increased, and online continues to rival TV as the most-used medium according to a new consumer survey from JupiterResearch. The renewed growth of TV and ascendancy of the Internet represent a challenge to other media. The study found that the average online consumer is spending 14 hours per week online, which is the same amount of time he or she spends in front of the television. Meanwhile, the print medium is losing out: Barry Parr a JupiterResearch analyst pointed out that even the most intensive consumers of print products spend less time reading newspapers and magazines than they do surfing the Web or watching TV. He added that old-media content providers run the risk of "losing an entire generation of users" unless they start marketing their products on the Internet.