Local TV advertising selling alliances aren't easy.
A year ago, national cable advertising company NCC Media launched its "I+" (Interconnect Plus) campaign -- an effort to pool together a mix of cable, satellite and telco inventory -- all to give local TV advertisers more reach for their messaging. Primarily, the NCC Media effort is to pool 25 big cable networks from the top 25 markets.
Some critics say while it is a good effort, the mix of inventory and impressions is uneven in many markets -- and still not near the reach of traditional broadcast spot inventory.
No matter. Proponents speaking at this year's 4A's Transformation LA panel called "Playing Nice in the Sandbox" said the additive inventory has increased average market TV penetration, which has been good for business.
Lisa Meier, senior vice president of media sales West for Time Warner Cable Media Sales, says: "Every conversation has changed now. It doesn't just include wired cable." She notes that the big challenge is getting advertisers to change their media plans to adapt to the new NCC "I+" model.
Richard Forester, vice president of new business development for DirecTV, says it has been positive.
Previously, he admitted that DirecTV -- despite its big base of 20 million-plus U.S. customers -- didn't exactly fit the model for a national TV seller, especially when competing TV networks and programmers covered some 80 million to 100 million U.S. TV homes.
Frank Foster, vp of business development at AT&T AdWorks, says: "Locally it made a lot of sense to partner.. We now have a wide, deep funnel."
Steve Lindsley, regional vice president of Comcast Spotlight, says in Denver alone, Comcast has added some 200,000 homes -- mostly from adding DirecTV inventory into the mix. "Right now this is a tremendous opportunity.. I think it's the golden age of cable TV ad sales."
Can competing TV companies really work together in the future?
Lindsley says one just needs to look at what other bigger competing TV programmers do when it comes to selling advertising together, such as CBS and Turner Broadcasting efforts around airing NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. "It's great for viewers."
By way of comparison, the "I+" efforts follow some industry footsteps. Lindsley added that decades ago, competing local-area cable operators greatly improved their efforts when pooling resources and constructing big, market-wide local cable interconnects that encouraged local marketers to make local TV deals.