CNN.com Campaigns to Promote Free Video Launch

To promote the launch of its free news video offering, CNN.com has launched an online promotional campaign on several news sites. The Time Warner property’s hope is that the effort, developed by Agency.com, will help it attract a bigger audience, and eventually more video advertisers.

The ad units promoting the new service will be updated with current headlines from CNN.com’s news feed, include accompanying video in the unit, and inform viewers of the new free service. When users click on a specific headline within an ad, CNN’s video player will launch and that specific story will begin to play.

One ad on CNN.com proclaims, “Read it. Watch it. CNN.com. Today on CNN.com, It just got easier to … WATCH.” Another ad in the campaign asks, “Why go anywhere else? Watch free video now.” Another says, “From entertainment to world news. Watch free video.” and allows the user to scroll through several top news headlines with a screen shot of the available video.

The campaign will run for eight weeks, beginning today. Ads will appear across the CNN.com network and AOL, as well as on news sites like Yahoo News, SFGate.com NYTimes.com, Salon.com and the Gawker blog. The campaign will also be supported by on-air television spots running on CNN.

The service, which launched today, provides users with free access to CNN’s video content from top news stories of the day. Video clips are made available across 14 categories, including Top Stories, US, World, Politics, Business, Sports, and Entertainment. CNN also produces a two-minute, Web-only hourly news update, anchored by Web-exclusive hosts.

Chase and General Motors’ Cadillac division have signed on as the presenting sponsors for the launch of CNN.com’s free video. They will each have exclusive category sponsorships, promotional banners throughout CNN.com, and promotional spots on all CNN Networks.

Videos are now shown in wide-screen format on a newly redesigned media player, similar to others across the Time Warner Web properties which have been redesigned leading up to the AOL.com portal launch. That player incorporates an “ad curtain” to show a persistent 728×90 leaderboard banner across the bottom of the player, which generally coincides with the :15 or :30 pre-roll video ad.

The media player lets users search for videos from the last seven days by keyword or topic, as well as browse videos by headline, news category, time of publication or popularity.

CNN.com is still planning to launch a premium video news service in the fall with multiple live video streams, access to CNN’s video archives and other user-customized options.

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