Cross-Media Sales Take Off at Some Nets4/04/1999 8:00 PM Eastern
The combination of advertisers wanting to be heard in the
increasing din of the media marketplace and ad sellers wanting to exploit the growing
number of media properties under their own corporate roofs has made one-stop shopping more
of a reality at many cable networks.
Whether it's called cross-media sales or integrated
marketing, networks are pushing sales across boundaries, as pioneers like Turner
Broadcasting System Inc. and ESPN are joined by their peers.
Divisions and units are being created to span a company or
a brand in the hopes that increased communications within the company will lead to growth
for current accounts and that a spotlight on synergy will bring in more business.
At Fox Family Worldwide, the result is a "one-stop
kids' shop" in the form of a new Fox Family Worldwide Ad Sales unit based in New
The unit's sales responsibilities range across the
broadcast Fox Kids Network, the cable Fox Family Channel, Fox Kids Magazine, the
syndicated Fox Kids Radio Countdown, two upcoming digital channels, two existing Web sites
(foxkids.com and foxfamilychannel.com) and two Web sites scheduled for a
Part of the new unit's task is to raise awareness of
the value of a cross-media package, Fox Family Advertising Sales president Rick Sirvaitis
said. "Keep in mind, there aren't that many people saying, 'We want a
cross-media package,'" he said. "The hope and desire is that everybody
understands that there's a broader reach available. There are all types of
In some cases, the cross-media deal precedes the new unit.
Late last year, CBS launched CBS Plus, a new division responsible for cross-media sales
spanning seven other CBS divisions.
The impetus: an August 1998 one-year mega-deal with
Pennzoil-Quaker State Co. that provided CBS president and chief operating officer Mel
Karmazin with a blueprint for synergy.
The result, senior vice president Lisa McCarthy said:
"This internal capability makes us more competitive."
The move was made just in time to capture the interest of
Mike Kelly, marketing director at Taylor Made Golf Co., who was looking for something
different to launch the company's innovative new golf ball.
Taylor Made already had a vigorous three-site Web presence,
its own magazine and considerable success with infomercials. Every proposal included new
media, but only CBS Plus offered something really new.
Taylor Made wanted to make a splash, but it couldn't
swing the cost of advertising on the top three networks. CBS Plus put together a package
that included network television and banners on the network's three Web sites (cbs.com,
cbs.sportsline.com and cbs.marketwatch.com), and it also took Taylor Made in
new directions by adding radio via CBS/Infinity Radio and outdoor through its TDI
The deal marked Taylor Made's first foray into radio
and outdoor. In all, five CBS divisions are part of the package.
The deal is worth 20 percent of the company's $20
million-plus annual marketing and advertising budget, according to Kelly.
CBS Cable was not included in the CBS Plus deal, but Kelly
said the division will benefit from spot buys for infomercials, which are being handled
Asked if he would describe the deal as cross-media or
integrated, Kelly answered simply, "I would describe it as solving our business
As part of the deal, CBS Sports even took out an ad in Pure,
the Taylor Made magazine. The two companies also share a human resource in the irreverent
Gary McCord; the CBS golf analyst has been a Taylor Made spokesman for six years. The
spring 1999 issue of Pure features him on the cover in a bathtub of golf balls.
For McCarthy, the mission is twofold: bring in incremental
revenue to the corporation while helping clients to build their brands and, ultimately,
their bottom lines.
The Taylor Made deal emphasizes cross-media sales. At ESPN,
the emphasis is on vertical integration throughout the ESPN brand, usually through
sponsorship packages created around prepackaged or ESPN-made special events.
Dubbed in press releases as the network's "most
ambitious ESPN-created marketing and programming endeavor," ESPN's 18-month SportsCentury
is the ultimate one-stop-shopping event. The sponsorship package purchased by presenting
sponsor General Motors Corp. and seven other category sponsors covers cable, broadcast,
print, radio, Internet and on-site ads.
The package includes 60-plus hours of original programming
on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports (10 hours); original features on ESPN Radio; exposure on
ESPN Classic; a dedicated area within the popular ESPN.com Web site; and quarterly inserts
in top 10 newspapers.
There was also a commemorative year-end issue of ESPN-The
Magazine, a book and videotape collection and a 30-city mall tour that kicked off in
Sarasota, Fla., in February.
The design of various elements practically guarantees
repeat access by consumers. For instance, the dedicated Web-site area is updated daily
with flashbacks of that day in sports history.
"If you're celebrating 100 years in sports, you
tell me which medium doesn't fit," said Tom Hagel, ESPN's vice president of
integrated sales and marketing.
"I think most importantly what ESPN offers is a very
targeted, focused audience. No matter what medium, we're delivering a message to
sports consumers," Hagel added.
ESPN formed its in-house integrated ad-sales department
three years ago, in part to provide a more user-friendly way for advertisers to buy into
the ever-increasing ESPN media stable. The push toward partnerships and co-branding also
gave ESPN a way to leverage its own properties better.
They didn't have a formula to follow, Hagel said.
"We just kind of figured it out and started experimenting as our distribution bases
ESPN2's first created event -- the 1995 X Games --
served as a laboratory that eventually led to the Winter X Games and the upcoming Great
"I think that it's evolved very well," said
Jeffrey Mahl, ESPN's senior vice president of ad sales. "We try to keep it real
simple. The key thing is getting all of our salespeople on board."
He added: "The more things that we have that are named
ESPN, the better our prospects are."
Rival sports network CNN/SI is reaping the benefits of
parent Time Warner Inc.'s years of experience as a pioneer in cross-media sales. A
52-week branded media and promotion deal announced last month mines the myriad
possibilities presented by Time Warner, its Turner networks and Time Inc.'s
Dodge, a division of DaimlerChrysler AG, will partner with Sports
Illustrated and the CNN News Group for preferred positions in the "Insider"
reports on major sports that appear in the magazine, and it will sponsor
"Insider" reports on CNN/SI and Cable News Network. The deal includes banners on
busy CNNSI.com and billboards on the CNN Airport Network.
Dodge already had a relationship with SI and CNN.
But the multimillion-dollar deal adds online and on-site media to the mix, while stamping
Dodge's brand on a popular franchise shared by the two networks, the magazine and the
"Major media companies are looking across different
types of media and putting together deals that wouldn't have been possible a couple
of years ago," said Larry Goodman, Turner's president for news sales.
At the same time, Goodman said, "There's a lot of
movement on the advertisers' part to create a good piece of content and to show it in
as many places as they can. In a world of fragmentation, any time that you can get
something that's going to give you multiple chances to aggregate the audience and to
build reach, you take it."
But that doesn't mean stuffing deals with elements
that may not really work for the advertiser. The art of the deal means making sure that
the properties in the package match the needs of the buyer, and that the package is as
large or as small as it needs to be.
Every year, a growing percentage of revenue comes from
packages that cross properties, according to Goodman.
For instance, a three-year deal with Volvo Group for that
car manufacturer's first global television-marketing campaign revolves around a
half-hour weekly music show called World Beat. The exposure includes CNN
International, CNN, CNN Headline News, CNN Airport Network and an online version. Volvo
was guaranteed exclusivity as a partner and as the car advertiser.
Now CNN and Volvo are working on ways to bring the
sponsorship to the car-dealership level, according to David Levy, president of
international advertising sales.
One idea in the works involves creating a "World
Beat" compact disc that could be done in tandem with Warner Bros. using Time Warner
The constant efforts to build Volvo's brand move the
deal from a media buy to the advertising world's concept of a partnership. "This
is the big part of why we have been successful," Levy said. "You can't just
do an advertising media buy. Time Warner gives us that table with all of the different
legs ... If we didn't have all of these different extensions, I'm not sure
that they would have pursued this."
CNN's NewsStand: CNN & Entertainment Weekly
debuted in 1998 with sponsorships from Ogilvy & Mather clients American Express Co.,
IBM Corp. and U.S. Satellite Broadcasting. The deal included a new online segment in the
Showbiz section of cnn.com with an option for exclusivity for O&M's
Said Goodman, "I see '99 as just a watershed
year, [as we keep asking] across all of Turner, across all of Time Warner, 'What can
The folks at Turner were asking and answering questions
like that before most, if not all, of their competitors. Turner codified the one-stop
concept in 1994 with what may have been the first marketing-solutions division, charged
with linking ideas for advertisers across all of a media company's properties.
As president, entertainment sales for Turner Broadcasting
Sales Inc., Joe Uva's responsibilities include the development of integrated
marketing programs. Like Goodman, he has been with TBSI since 1984, and he has watched the
company and the industry evolve.
To Uva, the move to integration and cross-media sales is
largely the result of that evolution and the consolidation of resources as companies like
Turner and Time Warner merged. "We had a lot of practice before the merger," Uva
said. "Since the merger, we've been able to elevate it to a new level."
"When Time and Warner merged initially, there was some
dissatisfaction because there didn't seem to be the synergy that was expected,"
recalled Ron Frederickson, executive director, national-broadcast group at J. Walter
Thompson Co. Frederickson added that the addition of Turner to the mix has made that
synergy more of a reality.
"The whole concept of one-stop shopping is very
appealing. It has been talked about for years and years, and there hasn't been much
action," Frederickson said, adding his belief that the problem has been one of
"It's like: Who makes the first step? That's
why there's been relatively little action compared with the amount of talk," he
added. "My own sense is that this will be a growing phenomenon, but I expected more
like a bell curve."
During 1998, Uva said, more than 25 percent of
Turner's media bookings were tied to shared marketing platforms and crossover
promotional programs. (The numbers don't include license fees or promotional costs.)
In 1996, the figure was probably 10 percent or less. "We're expected to grow
this year," he added.
The numbers include projects like the "1998 Spring
Break" campaign for Cinnaburst gum, which Uva said was renewed for 1999 almost as
soon as it was done. It began with advertising on Turner Network Television's Nitro
and TBS Superstation's Thunder World Championship Wrestling shows, segueing
into a three-week promotional campaign that took Nitro on the road to spring break
in Panama City, Fla.
In another example, Turner licensed the rights to The
Jetsons to Sprint Corp.'s "Sprint Stores" at RadioShack for a multiyear
campaign that runs across the Turner networks.
Cross-media success at any company relies on communication
and cooperation between divisions. At Turner, this means weekly conference calls pulling
together every Turner marketing executive and a detailed internal database of every
project being made for the next three years throughout Time Warner.
"What you're hopefully providing to the
advertiser is a favored-nation status, and also some added value," BBDO Worldwide
executive vice president Steve Grubbs explained. "All of the sellers will tell you
that this isn't about packaging together to sell at a lower price: It's about
"The most important issue is the fact that packaging
has to benefit everybody," said Foote, Cone & Belding senior vice presidentEllen
Oppenheim. That may sound simplistic, but it has to be the core of any decision, she
For Oppenheim, flexibility is the key to any cross-media
package. Sponsorship packages that can't be customized to the client's needs
The sellers seemed to agree. "You can't just say,
'You've got to buy it this way.' The bottom line is what works for the
client," Sirvaitis said.
In part, the move to integration is being driven by
increased activity on the Internet, Mahl said. "People are spending a lot of money on
Internet sites and not seeing action."
Mahl's answer: "We live in this currency called
CPM," referring to the cost-per-thousand-homes advertising matrix. "This
doesn't always mean that you're moving your product. The Internet is wonderful,
but it works better when used in a vertical marketing package."
The Internet's growth has altered the Discovery
Networks U.S. mix that is available to clients. Increased ability to distribute
information online led to the demise of programming magazines for Discovery Channel and
The Learning Channel, cutting out a print category.
But Discovery has deep resources to draw on. Discovery
Channel's special, Cleopatra's Palace: In Search of a Legend, was
supported by themed merchandise for sale in more than 120 Discovery Channel and Nature
Company retail stores -- books and home videos -- and by extensive online content and
complementary programming on Travel Channel, Discovery Science and Discovery Civilization.