"We are just looking for ways to build our business base," says Mary Jeanne Cavanagh, executive vice president of advertising sales for Oxygen.
Oxygen has just completed its second deal with the controversial eBay Media system, with Home Depot, somewhere in the "mid-six-figure range." Cavanagh says an earlier eBay deal with Intel "was a bit less."
This was more or less expected. Home Depot, along with Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, are three of the most ardent supporters of the system, called the eBay Media Marketplace.
Cavanagh is happy, because both Home Depot and Intel are two clients that Oxygen, a still-growing young-skewing women's network, hasn't had on its air. Both Home Depot and Intel traditionally place media on mostly male-targeted networks and TV shows. She says a couple of other eBay deals are in the works.
One of the prerequisites for any eBay deal, says Cavanagh, is not hurting Oxygen's rate-card pricing or its brand value. "As long as we keep our [price] integrity, we thought--why don't we give it a go," she says.
Other more mature cable networks have complained that the new eBay system reduces their inventory to a commodity, since it operates as an auction system. In addition, it doesn't allow for added-value attachments to the media buy.
Oxygen disagrees--especially on the second charge. Cavanagh says both Intel and Home Depot deals included special sponsorship extras for weekend Oxygen programming. The Home Depot deal was primarily "heavily in the fourth quarter" and lighter in outlying 2008 periods.
Oxygen has some 350 national accounts and is focusing its efforts on traditional male-target advertiser categories: insurance, financial services, wireless, and high-end automobiles.
"I'd love to get Mercedes-Benz and BMW," says Cavanagh. The eBay system could help.
The upfront marketplace for Oxygen "exceeded" expectations, with the scatter market also doing well, says Cavanagh. The nearly 75 million-subscriber network sells about 30% to 40% of its commercials in the upfront, with the rest coming from the scatter marketplace.
Cavanagh says the network skew is 60% to 65% female, similar to E! and VH1. Its median age is 39 years old--lower than other typical women's targeted networks.