ESPN Brings Dynamic Ads to Live Sports Broadcasts

  |  March 10, 2009   |  Comments

ESPN360.com will carry ads in live streams of 124 college championship basketball games.

ESPN is introducing technology this week that will digitally insert ads into live sports broadcasts at ESPN360.com for college basketball's Championship Week.

Viewers of approximately 124 games through March 15 will see pods of 15- and 30-second video ads, similar to TV broadcasts, that will be streamed into the video player via technology that was developed by ESPN and Disney Interactive Media Group. The technology is proprietary and an ESPN spokesman wouldn't provide details, except to say that "the individual players know when there's a break and how long it will be and serve ads into the space based on the amount of time to fill."

Lisa Valentino, ESPN's vice president of digital media sales, said ESPN has been dynamically serving ads into its Web content, but this is the first time ads have been served into live game broadcasts.

Among the advertisers for the games this week are the U.S. Army, IBM, T. Rowe Price, State Farm and Burger King.

The video ads that run in commercial pods "offer more flexibility than the linear network experience, because there's more customization," Valentino said. Clickable companion ads run next to the video spots and take viewers to the advertisers' Web sites.

In addition, ESPN has created custom half time shows that can incorporate advertiser content, "from 'presented by' messages to sponsor features integrated into the long form content," Valentino said.

"Now we can dynamically insert ads instead of manually inserting them, which allows us to provide greater reporting and more metrics," she said. "We can report on time spent and user engagement."

ESPN is selling ads for ESPN360.com in packages with TV ads. All of the advertisers bought sponsorships for the entire week. "Their ads will run across the week with coverage across all the games," Valentino said. No ad targeting to specific games was offered.

Bobby Tulsiani, an analyst at Forrester Research, said inserting ads into live content "is part of the equation to monetize online video."

He said, "There's been plenty of on-demand content, from YouTube to NBC.com, but live content hasn't had the ad solution. The ability to insert a stream into a live broadcast online is a step in the right direction to help pay for video content online."

The games are being broadcast on ESPN360.com, ESPN's broadband sports network that delivers live sporting events to almost 25 million homes with affiliated service providers that include AT&T, Verizon, Cavalier, Charter and Mediacom.

ESPN360.com will continue to use the new technology to dynamically insert ads for other sporting events. "It's exciting to launch it for College Championship week, and now we'll offer it year round," Valentino said.

ClickZ Live Chicago Learn Digital Marketing Insights From Leading Brands!
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda, or register and attend one of the best ClickZ events yet!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

Jobs