San Francisco -- ZDTV is using its technical expertise to
take its advertisers into "new territory" -- live commercials.
Richard Fisher, executive vice president of the Ziff-Davis
operation, said the computer cable channel, with one-half of its programming slate made up
of live shows, will have two of its advertisers -- Onsale Inc. and Egghead.com -- running
"near-live" commercials on or about Oct. 15.
The lag time between the taping of the spots from the
companies' Web sites and their actual appearances on ZDTV will initially be mere
seconds, Fisher said, adding that proprietary software will enable the spots to go truly
live about one month into the campaign buys.
Both accounts will target online shoppers. Onsale is a
retailer that does interactive online auctions of computers and related equipment, and
Egghead.com sells discounted consumer electronics and other merchandise via several Web
For ZDTV, this is "a natural evolution," since so
much of its programming is live and interactive, Fisher said. Interestingly, however, the
clients' live spots will run on pretaped ZDTV programs -- Internet Tonight for
Egghead and Money Machine for Onsale.
The commercials will in effect be "convergence
advertising," Fisher said, since Onsale's commercials will incorporate live
online auctions from its Web site, while Egghead's will feature "real-time
information" about bargains in computer hardware or software, lifted from its
For the sponsors, the concept not only fits nicely with
their retail businesses, but it also enables them to make creative fixes in their
advertising as their spots run through year's end, Fisher said, adding, "The
cost of creative is next to nothing."
Fisher would not say if ZDTV is charging a premium for the
ZDTV won't begin pitching live spots to its current
roster of 30-plus advertisers, or to other prospects, until the first ones have been
running for a while, Fisher said.