History Cannot Be Ignored
The network emphasizes its upscale appeal
By Stewart Schley -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/15/2006 7:00:00 PM
When Volvo executives told cable-advertising rep firm NCC about a new breed of vehicle the automaker was introducing in 2005, the wheels started spinning.
“They wanted some sort of program association or sponsorship opportunity that would speak to a target audience where you’d find Volvo consumers,” says NCC Director of Promotions Gloria Ehrenberg. Specifically, the carmaker was looking for programming that attracted upscale adults with children.
Ehrenberg and her colleagues found the right fit at the offices of A&E Television Networks, where The History Channel was planning the premiere of Conquest of America, a four-part series chronicling the early exploration of America.
Working with History Channel’s local-advertising and national-marketing teams, NCC presented a cross-media collaboration rare for the spot-cable business. It included local commercials on History Channel and other cable networks in 20 markets, plus a Volvo presence on the Conquest area of History Channel’s Web site. The mix of local-market inventory with the network’s consumer Web site was unusual. “That’s traditionally something only national sponsors have access to,” Ehrenberg explains.
This year, History Channel is helping affiliates build local-ad campaigns around the new biographical special Lincoln and the forthcoming Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America.
TUNE INTO “TAGGABLE SPOTS”
In the meantime, A&E Manager of Affiliate Advertising Jennifer Baumann continues to press the case for including History Channel—which attracts high concentrations of adult men—in local-ad packages that involve sports and news channels. While the demographics mesh well, she says, account executives don’t always think to include History Channel in these packages: “I think, because the ad-sales organizations are selling so many networks, people tend to sell what they know and watch themselves.”
The network’s main strategy is to help affiliates promote local-ad inventory by emphasizing high-profile original programming. Baumann likes giving support in the form of a “taggable spot,” a tune-in promotion and local-sponsor message wrapped into a 30-second video clip.
For its marquee programs, History produces taggable commercials offering local affiliates either 10 seconds or five seconds to allow local advertisers to present “sponsored by” announcements. The taggable spot is a popular option for affiliates, in part because it provides their local advertisers an association with prominent national content.
“History typically puts a lot of emphasis on our marquee programming,” Baumann says, “and so we carry that message throughout the affiliate ad-sales department.”
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