Cross-Platform Deals: Return To The TV Advertising Future

The promise of big-time, cross-platform media deals has always started with television.

Starting ten years ago, media sellers and TV business journalist all focused on those mega-platform, mega-$10 million plus deals - or even bigger: the $350 million Procter & Gamble/Viacom deal and the $1 billion OMD USA/Disney-ABC deal.

The reality was that TV needed a partner in crime to make cross-platform deals take off. In the late '90s, when these deals were often discussed, other media might have contended to be TV's chief wingman -- cable TV, syndicated TV, local TV, or maybe radio, print, outdoor, or out of home. But few of these individual media platforms stood out from the crowd.

Now, it seems the widest form of cross-platform media deals now comes with just two platforms: TV and the Internet.

Ed Erhardt, president of ESPN Customer Marketing and Sales, told Mediaweek: "Seventy percent of all the deals that are $2 million or more across ESPN have at least two media components.... 'Monday Night Football' is closer to the 40-45 percent range." We know TV is the first - the big media of choice for many marketers. What's the second? Again, you would have to guess mostly the Internet.

Holding back the growth of cross-platform deals has been the issue of price versus extra value. Media sellers would say if price is all marketers are looking for, they would prefer that those marketers move on , and that 360 degree execution, wall-to-wall media, call it what you want, should be considered more strongly.

Many deals now include online because of its growing complementary nature to TV. Even if Internet CPMs - especially for video -- are generally higher than TV, out-of-pocket costs are still minimal.

Still, there are mountains to climb -- especially in other media areas.

Tom Wolfe, vice president of product marketing & promotion for Comcast Spotlight, said on Monday at the MIXX conference: "Everyone wants to be a pioneer. But not without metrics." Is that a slap at those Internet metrics, which may or may not be good enough at the moment? Perhaps other media is lacking.

Anyway, for a growing group of marketers, it's no longer the frontier. Towns are being built -- even if Wild West laws make living dicey.



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