Six Flags Hops On The TV Rollercoaster
Been wondering what former ESPN supremo Mark Shapiro has been doing since he left the Disney Company?
Answer: creating a 360 degree media network at the Six Flags theme park among other things. Putting to use everything he learned at ESPN, Shapiro, the company CEO is currently out selling marketers on Six Flags ability to put a digital billboard in front of riders on a rollercoaster, or serving up an ad via the company’s own TV network.
Helping him is a veritable army of former ESPNers, including Lou Koskovolis, executive vice president of corporate alliances, who chatted to ADverse from his office in Times Square. His window looks out onto some of the most advanced digital signage in the world. Koskovolis is talking up his media properties to TV promotions executives and media executives. Before joining in 2006, Koskovolis was executive-VP of multi-media sales for ESPN and ABC Sports. Last year, MGM used the parks to conduct a national contest to promote the movie, Fame.
Marketers such as Mars, Papa Johns, Coca-Cola Co. and Kodak have bought time on the TV network as part of various partnerships. We have around 70 million impressions a year, says Koskovolis. A CPM [cost per thousand] is $20, he says. The network carries about sixteen minutes an hour, is no doubt, highly engaging for attendees who wait on average an hour to board a ride, and more likely two hours on weekends.
Content is mostly from Dick Clark Productions which is owned by Six Flags, though the firm is also creating custom content for advertisers fronted by another ESPN alum, former Cold Pizza co-host Kit Hoover. Most East Coast parks wont open until the Spring, some such as those on the West Coast, are open year round. When they do, Koskovolis says his sales force is gunning for local ad dollars that might otherwise land in station group pockets.
Until then, Six Flags has a little financial re-organizing to do. The firm is still in Chapter 11, but is expected to be solvent by March, according to reports.