Nielsen Foe Frank Maggio Goes After Obama, McCain Too: Turns Politics Into A Game Show

Frank Maggio, the colorful and outspoken Florida real estate tycoon who settled a federal antitrust suit against Nielsen Co. earlier this year, is back in the media game - literally. Maggio has quietly launched a new TV game show as part of a new game-based broadband TV channel, and it's tapping a topical theme: the race for the presidency. Maggio's 7.TV Wednesday night went live with not one, but two new shows, each devoted to Barack Obama and John McCain.

"Most Americans are wrapped up in this competitive election, but many of us are losing focus on what's really important - one of these men will be the next President," states Maggio, who is the founder and CEO of 7.TV, and conceived the new interactive game show platform as a way to engage viewers in a way he believes will create greater interaction with advertisers and their brands.

7.TV, in fact, is an outgrowth of Maggio's original ReacTV concept, which originally was based on concurrent broadband Internet and cable TV distribution. The cable TV portion was dependent on a new digital set-top based TV ratings system erinMedia that Maggio tried to launch to compete with Nielsen's sample-based approaches, and which figured into his antitrust suit. That suit was settled in March for terms that were not disclosed, but Nielsen had already begun developing its own digital set-top ratings strategies, and continues to ramp those up.

Unable to convince cable operators to partner with him to deploy erinMedia's ratings system, Maggio subsequently ramped that venture down, and revised ReacTV to focus on a pure broadband video distribution strategy.

The two new presidential candidate-based games - www.ObamaGameShow.com and www.McCainGameShow.com - offer questions about past presidents, and incorporate actual campaign commercials. They are intended to be bipartisan, and at launch contain no advertising buys from either party, though Maggio says 7.TV would accept ads from political candidates.

"We see these two game shows more as a proof of concept than anything else - 7.TV believes that fun, positive and challenging games can be built around any brand, which can elevate and promote a connection between consumers and brands," Maggio stated. "After all, Obama and McCain, and even the office of President, are important brands. Games about brands that directly connect them to their consumers are a critical component of the next generation of TV, online, and console game shows."

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