Sponsorships, kiosks generate business

Feb 25, 2002  •  Post A Comment

NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, Detroit, has created sponsorships to bring in additional revenue, such as having General Motors sponsor the Olympics torch relay when it passed through Michigan in January.
WDIV’s Local Sales Manager Matt Kell said the station gave logo placement to GM during the segments of the torch relay that broke into programming on Jan. 6 and 7. “The client realizes value from it; the advertiser can be connected to a broadcaster without buying airtime,” Mr. Kell said.
In early February, WDIV also began a weekly wine report sponsored by local grocery store chain Farmer Jack that airs during the 6 p.m. newscast. The wine report talks about different wines and what to eat with them.
According to BIA Financial Network, Detroit TV revenues were about $408.8 million in 2001 and are expected to be $425.2 million in 2002.
“We’re actually feeling optimistic for the rest of the year,” Mr. Kell said. “I’m seeing more activity than we’ve been used to in the past 15 months.”
WDIV is also searching for new ways to generate revenue. A while back, the network purchased five Me TV kiosks, which are located at malls and other public places in the market, and is now beginning to make money on them. During one ad campaign with Universal Studios Theme Parks, WDIV had viewers go to the kiosks and tell in 25 words or less why they wanted to go to Florida, where one of the parks is located. The viewers with the best answers won trips.
“It’s an amorphous way to buy advertising, and it’s a way for us to get revenue streams in without selling inventory,” Mr. Kell said.
In December, kiosks were key to bringing Saks Fifth Avenue-which traditionally does not advertise on TV-into the fold. The campaign involved putting a kiosk in a Saks store. Through the kiosk, women share why they want a makeover. Once a week, someone is selected and given a makeover and featured in a 31/2-minute segment during one of the station’s newscasts. The feature has become so popular it will continue.
Top ad categories in Detroit are auto, telecommunications, fast food and furniture.
Harvey Rabinowitz, who owns Media … Period, a local media service agency, is pushing stations to be innovative for clients. Some advertisers are linking their Web sites to stations’ Web sites. If an advertiser buys a sponsorship, it is sometimes given a video billboard as well. Mr. Rabinowitz said traffic segments on WDIV and WXYZ-TV are now being sponsored in the morning newscasts. There is one sponsor per day and each gets a video billboard.
Mr. Rabinowitz said he created a sponsorship for his client Wallside Windows called “Window to the Weather” in which the window maker sponsors weather reports on the CBS duopoly. There is an animated window on the screen, and it has a logo and audio and video telling viewers “Tonight’s Window on the Weather …”
Linda Danna, who has been running CBS-owned WWJ-TV and sister station WKBD-TV in the market since November, said news segments and weather are the two top subjects that advertisers like to sponsor. Having a duopoly also makes it a better sell.
“What it does provide us is an opportunity to give a total market sell-UPN is younger skewing than CBS, and together you have the entire market,” Ms. Danna said. “It is a very attractive approach from an advertiser perspective.”