Starcom Touts Upfront HD Ad Deals

Apr 1, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Media agency Starcom said it has made upfront advertising deals worth millions of dollars with high-definition programmers ahead of the regular broadcast upfront market.
Starcom is making the deals based on set-top box data from DirecTV and Charter Communications in Los Angeles.
The agency also is using research from a proprietary study on HD viewing done in collaboration with Discovery Networks.
Last year’s deal with Discovery was based on second-by-second viewing data, one of the first done with data that precise. Data from Nielsen is collected on a minute-by-minute basis, which makes it harder to determine which 15- and 30-second commercials are being watched.
In addition to expanding its HD deal with Discovery, Starcom said it made upfront buys with DirecTV, HD Net, HDNet Movies and Universal HD.
Those networks are mostly not rated by Nielsen. Using the second-by-second data from other sources provides “commercial precision accountability,” said Chris Boothe, president and chief activation officer at Starcom.
Starcom last month declared that it wouldn’t do business with networks that couldn’t do deals based on some form of audience measurement.
Mr. Boothe said Discovery’s willingness to do a bigger deal this year with more of the agency’s clients, along with the receptivity of the other media companies to work with improved measurement of HD viewers, shows “this is the direction we’re moving in the future.”
Using other measurements also is a good idea because Nielsen recently told clients it has had problems this season with its ratings for about 20 smaller cable networks.
Starcom’s research said advertising in HD on HD channels generates higher recall and likability, which is attractive to advertisers, and that having more knowledge about HD viewing will be important next year when the broadcast world shifts to digital.
Mr. Boothe also said that by moving early, Starcom clients can take advantage of some opportunities that may not be available when the regular broadcast upfront comes around.
“DirecTV, delivering more quality HD channels than any other television provider, is pleased to participate in the first ever multi-client HD upfront investment with Starcom,” said Bob Riordan, senior VP of ad sales at DirecTV.
“Discovery is a category leader for HD viewing, and partnering with Starcom on their first ever HD upfront will expose more clients to our high-quality, multi-brand programming offering,” said Joe Abruzzese, ad sales president at Discovery Communications.
(4:10 p.m.: Updated throughout)

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