CNN's Presidential Premium

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As John Kerry moves nearer to securing the Democratic nomination for president, Cable News Network has added another pair of companies to its election-coverage roster.

Last week, the cable news service announced sponsorship pacts with Samsung Electronics and AT&T Corp.

CNN's strategy is to offer the advertisers exclusivity during its presidential election coverage on shows such as American Morning, Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics, Crossfire, Larry King Live, Newsnight With Aaron Brown and Anderson Cooper 360.

The deals, which follow an earlier accord struck with DaimlerChrysler Corp., afford the companies exclusivity in their respective categories — electronics and wireless hardware and networking, respectively. Similarly, ads for Chrysler and Jeep models are the only spots that can run during CNN's election coverage.

Last October, when CNN gave a presentation to advertisers in New York featuring on-air talent, network executives said they hoped to book five or six exclusive sponsorships for its election coverage.

At the same time, CNN officials said they hoped the exclusive election advertising packages would drive $30 million in ad revenue to the network. The network is “right on target” to derive that amount, CNN Ad Sales and marketing chief operating officer Greg D'Alba said last week.

While the exclusive advertising accords could force CNN to forgo advertisers that compete with DaimlerChrysler, Samsung or AT&T in their respective categories, D'Alba said CNN won't leave money on the table. The advertisers are paying a premium for their positioning, he said.

“It doesn't mean that we're losing money, but for this specific coverage they get exclusivity. You're not going to want to pay a premium for this coverage and run adjacent to your competitor,” D'Alba said.

The Samsung and AT&T deals are broad, integrated media buys that will give the marketers spots on CNN, Headline News, CNN.com, CNNfn, CNN Airport Networks and the channel's product for mobile devices, CNNtoGo. The DaimlerChrylser agreement calls for commercials to air on CNN, Headline News and CNN.com, he said.

CNN officials declined to detail exactly how much inventory is tied up in the three sponsorship packages.

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