SBD/May 17, 2013/Media

ESPN Hosted Brainstorming Event Last Month For Its Digital Ad Business

ESPN for two days last month in N.Y. held a “hackathon,” a kind of “brainstorming session on amphetamines” aiming to spur innovation around its digital ad business, according to Todd Spangler of VARIETY. The main event “took place in the 262-seat auditorium on the New York Institute of Technology’s Upper West Side campus, a former movie theater outfitted with a 24-foot-wide screen and digital projector.” A “quick-turnaround competition involved about 80 of the network’s developers, product managers and sales reps.” Each of the 15 squads “had 24 hours to mash up a compelling pitch.” They met on April 23 to “start work on their proposals.” Teams then “presented their ideas for new forms of digital advertising, grilled by a receptive but critically minded panel of six judges from ESPN and ABC’s sales exec ranks.” The champion was Gamebreak, a “video advertising unit built around highlight footage for ESPN’s popular online Game-Cast service, which lets fans follow sporting events that aren’t available to watch on TV or online.” The ESPN Alerts team “took second place.” ESPN “expects to make hackathons a central part of the digital-ad development playbook” (VARIETY, 5/14 issue).
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