CBS Pulls Digital Spend From AOL and MSN

  |  September 20, 2010   |  Comments

Network decides to heavy up with Yahoo during all-important premier week.

CBS is mixing it up with its interactive marketing for the rollout of its new prime-time season. The network will surround online and mobile users across the Yahoo network with a takeover campaign that includes the premier of a new ad unit.

And, while it makes a splash on Yahoo, AOL and MSN are getting the silent treatment.

CBS bought premier placement on the Yahoo home page, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger search, and the mobile front page. It even splurged on Yahoo's Times Square billboard. Yahoo estimated that the campaign will generate more than 800 million impressions among adults 25 to 54.

cbslogin-ncisGeorge Schweitzer, president of CBS Marketing, told USA Today that CBS formerly divided its fall ad spending among AOL, MSN, and Yahoo; this year, Yahoo got the entire spend. The amount of the deal was not disclosed, and Schweitzer was not available today for comment.

The campaign includes placement on the Yahoo login page for three days. The format, which Yahoo unveiled in June, will let site visitors sample video from one of three CBS shows.

CBS is the first advertiser to use Yahoo's new magazine ad format, which provides a rich-media experience. The magazine ads will appear on Shine, Yahoo's women's lifestyle channel.

A Yahoo spokesperson would not disclose whether CBS got a price break in return for being the first advertiser to use the magazine ad format, adding, "It's not like these are pilot programs."

The network is on a Monday-night roll with the popular "How I Met Your Mother," and "Two and a Half Men," the highest-rated TV comedy. It's hoping to maintain that edge with the series debut of "Hawaii Five-0," hitting hard with online promotions. College marching bands can upload videos of their performances of the show's theme song to the CBS College Sports site, competing to win $25,000 for their school's band programs and the opportunity to have the video broadcast during an ad break on the show's October 11 episode.

As part of its strategy to keep NCIS fans engaged, CBS Mobile recently released a mobile game that includes a version for the Apple iPad. Fans can go to to answer show-related questions and be entered into a sweepstakes to win as free download of the game.

TV and video content are two of Yahoo's strong suits. It claims that its TV home page is the top television destination on the Web. And, according to comScore's July 2010 video content ranking, Google sites, driven primarily by, ranked as the top online video content property with 143.2 million unique viewers, followed by Yahoo sites with 55.1 million viewers.



Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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