Heavy.com Makes a Bid for 'Upfront' Money

  |  March 28, 2006   |  Comments

Heavy.com takes a step to preempt the approaching media broker orgy known as the television upfront.

Heavy.com has taken a step to preempt the approaching orgy of media brokers known as the television upfront, creating what it's calling a "digital upfront" to tempt agencies to redirect some of their branding dollars to its integrated ad offerings.

The Web site, which boasts an audience of 10 million or so mostly young men, will present 30 hours of its upcoming programming to agencies in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit in the hopes media planning execs will commit now to advertise with it during the remaining nine months of the year.

Heavy.com certainly isn't the first company to try to create its own digital upfront. Other online media companies, particularly in the automotive vertical, have played with the model for at least two years. The resemblance of such experiments to the national TV upfront is thin at best. Online versions lack the big New York party, the middle of the night negotiating sessions, or the straight-up bluffing of the original version. Rather, Web publishers simply pitch their pending inventory to agencies hoping to secure advance sales. In Heavy.com's case, that means visiting agencies at their offices with a deck of 13 upcoming “Must Stream TV” shows, including a mobile phone-enabled dating show called "The Massive Mating Game" and several new installments in the "Machinima" nano-genre, consisting of video game animation paired with user-generated voice over.

"It doesn't resemble the classic television upfront," Heavy.com co-CEO David Carson admitted to ClickZ News. "It's not the typical dog-and-pony show where you come in and everybody has drinks. We're talking to advertisers about what we're doing and how they can get involved in the network through the rest of the year."

Rather than a serious bid to replicate TV's spring buying season, Heavy.com's upfront is named and timed primarily to capitalize on media planners' awareness of impending negotiations with national and cable TV networks. Carson said, "You want to time these things in and around the upfront, to earmark some of that [money] before it gets earmarked for television."

Carson insists the idea has merit from an inventory standpoint as well, saying the company expects an inventory shortage for its tightly integrated ad placements. These have included a brand deal with Burger King in which the company allowed Heavy.com to hand out masks of its "The King" spokesperson and let its audience create their own videos with them. In another instance, Sony sponsored "World of Warcraft" Machinima content which Carson called "three minute commercials for the game."

The number of such advertiser tie-ins any Web publisher can offer in a year is typically small, and such programming requires more development lead time than a standard ad buy. Whenever media placement demand outstrips supply, it pays to get buyers bidding early.

"Media buyers are just now starting to get really interested in [deeper integration] -- just in the last year," Carson said. "Prior to that integration was really uncommon. They were standard buys based off spreadsheets. It stands to reason that by the time you get to 2007, the potential gets a little frothier."

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!


Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

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



Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?


    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...