IDI Launches TV-to-Web Marketing Campaign

Interactive Distributors Inc. in Los Angeles (IDI) said it is creating a network of local TV stations to cross-promote their genre-related catalog Web sites in exchange for a percentage of the sales revenue generated.

The service provides a link between television programming, interactive entertainment, advertising sales and e-commerce.

The barter program launched with 75% of the country cleared, according to IDI CEO Wilhelm Cashen and Executive Vice President Ed Wasserman.

Prior to launch, more than 80 stations with group representation from Clear Channel, Granite, Meredith, Pappas, Paramount and United Chris-Craft signed two-year agreements with IDI, the company said.

Stations include WWOR-TV/New York, KCOP-TV/Los Angeles, WPSG-TV/Philadelphia, KBWB-TV/San Francisco, WSBK-TV/Boston, WDCA-TV/Washington, D.C., KTXA- TV/Dallas, WDWB-TV/Detroit, and WUPA-TV/Atlanta.

IDI’s stations will use on-air promotions to drive viewers to their local station Web sites, which then serve as “gateways” to IDI Web sites, such as Space Encounters, Black History and Kids Fun House.

As part of the agreement, the stations are committed to run a schedule of six to ten 15-second IDI-produced promotional spots per week prior to, during and after like-minded programming. In exchange, stations receive a percentage of sales generated by visitors who access IDI’s sites. Additionally, a number of stations have opted to have IDI sell their local Web site advertising.

“Gaining promotional time for what is essentially a barter basis is essential to our operation,” said Wasserman “We look at our promotional time like any other advertiser would. We plan to leverage it into substantial product sales.”

For example, the Space Encounter spots that feature William Shatner (Captain Kirk of “Star Trek” fame) can be tied to a station’s sci-fi programming. The spots direct viewers, already interested in that genre, to the station’s local Web site where they can enter IDI’s Space Encounters catalog sites, offering a collection of licensed Star Trek merchandise. The station logo remains prominent throughout the visit.

“With more than 258 million people watching TV, if we can convert even 1% of those viewers into customers, our model should prove to be successful for the company and our station affiliates,” said Cashen.

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