GM, IBM Ink Interactive Ad Deals With A&E

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A&E has landed General Motors Corp. as an advertiser on its slate of VOD programs, while IBM Corp. will return as enhanced-TV sponsor of The History Channel’s Boys Toys in December, an indication that marketers continue to expand the testing of new program formats.

“We heard during the upfront season a lot of interest in enhanced TV opportunities,” said A&E vice president of interactive ad sales William Jennings, including interest in video-on-demand, broadband and enhanced TV.

“We’re seeing a lot of agencies trying these enhanced-TV opportunities for the learning as well as the actual number of eyeballs,” he said.

GM started running ads on A&E’s VOD programming in June. A&E, History and Biography VOD content reaches 8 million homes through Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable systems, Jennings said.

The auto manufacturer is running 30-second ads at the beginning and end of VOD programming for its GMC and Buick divisions. “They have been rotating ads,” Jennings said. He added that GM will experiment with a 60-second ad at the front end and a longer form unit at the back of VOD content.

“GM has been testing a number of networks over the last year,” Jennings said. “They have been one of the more aggressive marketers out there. They are taking the space a lot more seriously now. One of the benefits is it’s a clutter free environment.

IBM returns as sponsor of Boys Toys, a look at high tech gadgets, starting Dec. 6. It’s a two-screen enhanced TV experience with an online trivia game at www.historychannel.com that is synced to the telecast. IBM’s sponsorship extends to both the TV program and Internet site.

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