CNN Special Good News for Ad Sales

Nov 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

CNN has signed Johnson & Johnson, Zurich Financial Services, Coors, Citigroup and Honda as key sponsors for its global “CNN Heroes” special airing Dec. 6.
The ad market in news has been hot lately, as clients look for an alternative to entertainment programming, which is being buffeted by the shift to commercial ratings and the effects of the writers strike.
“The live news factor is DVR-proof,” said Greg D’Alba, executive VP and chief operating officer of CNN Advertising Sales & Marketing. “I think we’ve been a safe place for advertisers to spend more money because of the nature of our programming and the range of our [digital] products.”
Mr. D’Alba said CNN had a record-breaking third quarter and “the fourth quarter has been really strong.”
In addition, the news business is heading into a presidential election year, which traditionally has attracted viewers and advertising dollars.
“CNN Heroes” is the network’s initiative to discover and profile ordinary people around the world who have accomplished extraordinary deeds.
The winners will be named during the special, which will be co-hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. Examples of everyday heroes have been appearing on CNN, Headline News, CNN.com and other platforms since May.
The program offers advertisers an unusual opportunity to be on a news network in a regularly scheduled special with a positive theme. Some advertisers avoid news because it can be controversial, violent or negative.
“Heroes” is “heartwarming, it’s passionate, it’s real. It accomplishes all of these wonderful things that you like to identify with,” Mr. D’Alba said.
That formula attracted an eclectic mix of advertisers to the project, he said.
Mr. D’Alba declined to say how much the sponsorships cost.
Nearly all except Coors are integrated on CNN’s digital platforms. The range of platforms CNN offers, including online, broadband, mobile and podcasts, has increased the amount of revenue the network can generate from sponsors, Mr. D’Alba said.
“Advertisers are spending a lot more money with us because we have inventory on so many usable platforms,” he said. “When we talk about profit growth in the news genre, we’re just seeing more money coming our way because we have more places for branded inventory.”
He said it remains to be seen how the writers strike and the shift to commercial ratings will affect the news channels. Both of those factors have already begun to tighten inventory and raise prices on entertainment networks, making the value on news channels more attractive.
But with more of its revenue coming from multiplatform deals, Mr. D’Alba said the industry needs to invest more into research that can measure the way content—and advertising messages—connect with consumers on whatever medium they’re using.
He said advertisers also have to tailor their messages to reach consumers on multiple platforms.
“They have to invest in the right creative that will virtually sell product anywhere, anytime,” he said.


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