SBD/Issue 126/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

MMOD Bringing In About $37M In Online Ad Sales For CBS, Up 20%


CBS sold out of its inventory for March Madness on Demand, "bringing in about $37[M] in online ad sales, up 20% from the year before," according to Michael Learmonth of AD AGE. The net has "sold as many ads for live web coverage as it does on TV, taking CBS a little closer to the holy grail: earning the same revenue per viewer regardless of platform." The "key for CBS is that it's found revenue above and beyond what it earns on TV." The difference in overall revenues between MMOD and TV is "more than justified when you consider 7.5 million people watched the NCAA tournament online last year compared with 130 million on TV," but unlike TV, digital revenues are "steadily growing." CBS this year added Capital One as a presenting sponsor of MMOD, in addition to AT&T and Coca-Cola, and it also "took another step in allowing viewers to access the streams pretty much wherever they happen to be on the web, including Yahoo Sports, Facebook" and ESPN. CBS is "charging for the games on mobile, and is charging $9.99 for its March Madness iPhone app, up from $4.99 last year, currently the No. 2 paid sports app in Apple's app store." Viewers get "fewer ads online than on TV" with most online services, but "not so with March Madness where CBS sells the ads in virtually the same way as TV, except video advertisers get display that appears when their ad is running." Senior VP/Ad Sales Rich Calacci: "This is extraordinarily similar to selling TV and that's a good thing" (AD AGE, 3/15 issue).

A NEW SOCIAL SETTING: USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz reports some of the "nation's savviest marketers are turning the college basketball's championship tournament into something more akin to an online hoops party" through social media outlets. The NCAA tourney serves as a "social-media marketing event, a chance to coax consumers to play with their brands." Senior VP & GM Jason Kint: "It's the ultimate sporting event for social media." Horovitz notes Coke Zero is "sponsoring a Department of Fannovation Brain Bracket asking fans to vote online for the best idea to improve the tournament." MillerCoors has "launched an iPhone app, Tip 'n Spin, in which folks earn points by balancing a basketball on a Miller Lite bottle." Meanwhile, Applebee's is offering $1M to "whomever picks the winners of all 63 tourney games via its Facebook page with Twitter updates" (USA TODAY, 3/15).

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