Get hooked on profit: Charter Media of St. Louis has managed to book more than $1 million of incremental revenue since 2005 from a normally elusive advertising category – without selling a single commercial.
Instead, the company used its collective media, promotional and organizational might to stage a city-wide health awareness campaign capped by a live expo-style event in January that offered free health screenings and brought in more than 400 sponsors and exhibitors. The multi-phase effort involved an alliance with the St. Louis mayor’s office, a celebrity spokesperson (former Cardinals great Ozzie Smith), a Web site (www.gethookedonhealth.com), an original TV program featuring local and national health experts and support from numerous cable networks that televise health-related TV shows.
The “Get Hooked on Health St. Louis” program, now in its third year, is an enormous effort, but generates big returns without gobbling up ad inventory, says Charter Media St. Louis VP Paul Sly. He retraced the effort at the recent Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau sales management conference. Sly said the much-promoted campaign helped to bring in sponsorships from physicians and health organizations like BJC Health Care that normally don’t advertise on TV. “Doctors want to tell their story, (but) they want to do so in a way that doesn’t appear to be advertising,” Sly said. Charter Media charged expo sponsors a minimum of $1,000 for a small booth, and recruited three signature sponsors who paid $50,000 each. A third annual expo is scheduled for January 2007. “The beauty of it lies in the fact that it’s revenue we’d never otherwise get,” Sly said.
Get bang for the bandwidth: Availability of inexpensive high-speed transmission lines and digital video equipment is transforming the way one cable rep firm gets business done. Washington-based AdPro Networks is relying on a centralized commercial production and traffic facility to manage the insertion of local cable commercials in small-system markets like Black Hawk, Colo., and Paducah, Ky. from AdPro’s Seabeck, Wash., office. Coupled with $6,000 to $7,000 digital insertion systems the company builds itself and installs at local headends, the arrangement helps AdPro Networks control costs – and satisfy time-sensitive advertisers. “I can say, ‘Give me your spot by 3 p.m. and we’ll get it on that night,’” says founder Mike Puckett.