Commentary

Game Shows And Runny Noses: GSN, NBC Expand DO Offerings

TV and digital out-of-home networks have been falling into each other's arms over the last few years, turning to each other for content and distribution, respectively. The mating game continued this week with announcements from the Game Show Network and NBC, which both struck new distribution deals with major DO players.

The Game Show Network partnered with Premier Retail Networks to bring customized content from the new trivia game show "Catch 21" to check-out lines at over 1,000 supermarkets around the country, with host Alfonso Ribeiro inviting shoppers to engage with the content by answering questions. Like other GSN shows, "Catch 21" has an interactive component that allows viewers to play along online, competing against other viewers for cash and prizes. There's also an advertising-supported mobile game, developed with mobile publisher Cellufun. The deal is part of a special campaign to promote the show, which debuted July 2. The campaign will run on PRN until Aug. 3.

Also this week, NBC's Digital Health Network said it was expanding its health content and advertising partnerships to include the Patient Channel and the Newborn Channel, national networks based in hospitals. Both networks were developed as joint ventures by NBCU and its parent company GE, as part of GE Healthcare. The Patient Channel is available around the clock on TVs in patient rooms and waiting areas in over 1,600 hospitals. It claims to reach over 6 million patients a year with its roster of over 40 educational programs on various topics like asthma, diabetes, cholesterol, and osteoporosis.

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Meanwhile, the Newborn Channel reaches neonatal waiting areas and recovery rooms in over 1,000 hospitals around the country, and claims to reach 2.5 million new mothers every year with content covering issues like infant care, maternal care, breastfeeding, and immunizations. Like the Patient Channel, it offers about 14 minutes of advertising during every 60 minutes of programming.

Place-based networks in healthcare venues offer a captive audience and long dwell times in waiting areas. Last year CBS Outernet announced a partnership with Healium, a video network serving waiting rooms in doctors' offices that is set to include 120,000 medical practices by the end of 2008, reportedly delivering 3 million viewers per month.

Last year also saw the debut of the C3MS NobelVisionT Network in 200 dental offices nationwide, with plans to add an additional 1,200 in 2008. Advertisers can purchase spots on the network or exclusively sponsor a 10-minute video package, taking advantage of the system's touch-screen and SMS text-messaging features.

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