Local TV Stations Unite for Online Ad Sales

Advertising technology provider WorldNow has formed a network of local TV station Web sites to try to woo national and regional brands’ media buyers by touting their combined reach.

The Local Media Network (LMN), comprising 147 local TV Web sites, is made up primarily of ABC network affiliates. It also includes sites from smaller broadcast groups, such as Lin, Dispatch, Raycom, Liberty, Meredith, New York Times, Landmark, Schurz, and Young. Many of the sites had existing relationships with WorldNow as customers of its video technology platform.

“We can deliver a national, regional, or multimarket buy with one insertion order,” said Allison Bodenmann, EVP of national ad sales for WorldNow. “The sites are news and information channels, which skew toward information. It’s a great opportunity to reach an at-work audience, especially working women.”

A limited number of those content areas, such as autos and sports, reach a mostly male audience. But most of LMN’s audience comprises upscale, working women looking for information, Bodenmann said. Of the 20 million monthly unique visitors, 63 percent visit while at work.

Each site offers localized content in news, sports, and weather, as well as more informational content in areas such as health, lifestyle, and house and home, Bodenmann said. Consumer-generated content, such as submitted recipes and personals, are also found on most sites.

Advertisers can buy ads in specific content areas or in channels, such as weddings, holidays, and seasonal promotions. Ads can also be targeted geographically on a local, regional, or national level; by daypart; or by behavioral segment, using Tacoda’s technology. Ad units are mostly Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)-standard leaderboard, skyscraper, or island units, with rich media and video capabilities powered by WorldNow’s streaming video production software.

WorldNow will focus on national ad sales, while each station will continue its local ad sales efforts. Varying amounts of ad inventory on each site is earmarked for either local or national sales. Although the ABC-owned stations had a national sales force before, buying online ads through LMN gives them added reach and buying power, said Gary Gannaway, chairman, president, and CEO of WorldNow. “Broadcasters who are looking to the Internet for growth can best compete as a consortium. LMN gives broadcasters a way to compete for the national online dollars,” he said.

A similar network, Internet Broadcasting Systems (IBS), has been around since 1995. The IBS network comprises mostly NBC affiliates, along with sites from Hearst-Argyle Television, Cox Communications, Post-Newsweek, and McGraw-Hill.

IBS claims to reach 64 percent of all U.S. households in the 60 markets in its footprint, including 93 percent of 22 of the top 25 markets.

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