CNN to Bring Online, Mobile to Upfront Party

CNN is changing its upfront strategy this year, emphasizing multi-platform opportunities beyond its television ad inventory in its presentations to media buyers this month.

The ad sales team has created presentations to showcase CNN’s capabilities in online, wireless and mobile markets, both on their own and in combination with TV campaigns to reach a target it calls the “now” consumer, according to Greg D’Alba, COO of CNN ad sales and marketing.

“The ‘now’ consumer is accessing content at home, at work, at the mall, during their commute — on every device imaginable,” said Greg D’Alba, COO of CNN ad sales and marketing. “Advertising packages that succeed in combining those distribution outlets to maximize the client’s exposure and reach the consumer on multiple touch points are the ones that will succeed.”

CNN is not alone in its emphasis on its digital offerings to TV media buyers. CBS said its newly launched “innertube” broadband video network would be part of its upfront presentations, as did ABC with its “My ABC.”

CNN’s digital inventory includes streaming video, wireless, podcasting, VOD, digital-only special features, and high-profile positions like CNN.com home page roadblocks. Each month, more than 24 million unique visitors to CNN.com access more than 32 million video streams and 3.2 million podcasts. More than 62 million monthly page views come via wireless or mobile devices.

“If you are a marketer, you need to be where the eyeballs are,” D’Alba said. “News is the perfect ‘take-it-with you’ content. Consumers can access our programming wherever they are, whenever they want it.”

Cross-platform efforts at CNN began three years ago, when D’Alba restructured the ad sales team to create the CNN Integration Group. Last year, the group absorbed the CNN Digital ad sales division

CNN launched its ad-supported online video news offering last year, along with a tighter relationship with corporate sibling AOL.com, which launched in June.

Broadcast TV networks and cable networks like NBC’s SciFi channel, Disney, and Viacom’s MTV and Comedy Central all have launched broadband video channels they plan to push during their presentations as well.

In addition, companies like Comcast, Scripps, Heavy.com, Klipmart held their own online video upfronts for media buyers

“Advertisers are seeing digital inventory now as a must-have,” said Joe Dugan, SVP of CNN’s digital ad sales group. “It is no longer being viewed as simply an added value asset. This year, many client meetings begin with digital conversations — and that’s a first.”

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