Chinadotcom Expands Ad Representation to TV

In an effort to offer advertisers cross-media marketing opportunities, Hong Kong-based chinadotcom’s hongkong.com division has formed a joint venture with Shanghai Xinhua Yatai TV Production Company (Yatai Shanghai), a subsidiary of the Shanghai branch of the Xinhua News Agency — which is an investor in chinadotcom.

The joint venture will have the exclusive right to sell advertising during finance-oriented TV programming produced by Yatai Shanghai, allowing the chinadotcom sales team to bundle the TV programming with its own finance channels.

“The finance vertical is a key strategic opportunity for us, especially in the tough market climate,” said Peter Yip, chief executive officer of chinadotcom corporation. “We believe that our deep penetration of this vertical will enable us to capture new, profitable revenue streams. Yatai Shanghai’s links with our shareholder, Xinhua News Agency, enhances its ability to produce high-quality financial programming for the growing number of investors in Mainland China. As China enters the WTO, we believe that ventures like Yatai Shanghai will thrive by providing much-needed market information.”

The ability to package advertising deals across different media channels is growing increasingly important for Web publishers, as giants like AOL Time Warner begin to offer advertisers one-stop shopping encompassing interactive and traditional media. Chinadotcom initially dipped its feet into the waters of traditional media with the acquisition of travel trade print-publishing group TTG Asia, based in Singapore.

With this most recent deal, chinadotcom aligns itself with a production team that’s previously produced programming — including “Listed Companies in China” and “Hua Din Finance” — which were broadcast to more than 50 cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

This move toward becoming a cross-media company follows chinadotcom’s June decision to get out of the ISP business — dropping its license to run AOL’s Hong Kong service and leaving it to AOL to operate. Chinadotcom had been running the service on AOL’s behalf since launching in September 1999. According to a report in the Hong Kong Economics Journal, AOL has decided to terminate the service as of July, rather than continue to run it itself.

Chinadotcom has been suffering the same woes that are plaguing U.S. Web publishers. In late March it said it would sell, cut back, or close non-core operations in Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, China, Japan and the U.S. The company also said it would consolidate existing offices and reduce staff — ending the second quarter with 417 employees fewer than it had at the beginning of the year.

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