New CBS Unit Combines Sales in Four Channels

CBS has created a new unit that will combine sales of advertising in radio, Internet, outdoor and television in a single group, called CBS RIOT. Its first major deal is a multi-million dollar campaign by Dodge Ram.

The new unit will sell assets of not only the 39 CBS-owned and operated television stations in the US, but also CBS Radio’s 147 stations, Interactive’s local Web sites, and Outdoor’s millions of billboards and display faces, according to the company.

Advertisers should note that the move away from having silos of advertising units within a single media company, especially one that has traditionally relied on a vanguard of television advertising, is a significant step for CBS to take, according to Emily Riley, Internet advertising analyst for Jupiter Research.

“For advertisers, it’s an understanding that CBS is really serious about new media. This is a flagship network brand, and they are making an obvious case that they no longer need TV to lead, especially on the sales side,” said Riley. “The goal here for CBS is probably more practical than anything else. Many media companies are feeling the need for a less siloed sales process.”

CBS’s “innertube” broadband video network is nearing its first birthday, and the company has set a course for more new media. Late last week it announced a new mobile division with jurisdiction over properties including the CW channel and CBS Outdoor.

By creating a single unit to head up CBS’s multiple advertising avenues, the company is looking to tame a very unruly beast, Riley said.

“It would be surprising to many how complex multimedia buys are even when you’re talking one advertiser and one company. There are obviously very different rules and regulations, as well as inventory management issues,” she said. “To centralize media planning within one part of a dispersed company is a good step forward in streamlining the process.”

The first campaign to be launched with the new CBS advertising system, for Dodge Ram, will target male viewers and is intended to lead them to a co-branded Web site on CBS Once there, users can play an interactive game tied to Dodge Ram’s “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em” theme, according to the company. The campaign is slated to start February 14th and will include prizes such as tickets to sporting games and the Dodge Ram vehicles themselves.

The CBS RIOT sales unit will be will be run in by Richard Lobel, executive vice president, Altitude Group, CBS Radio; Jon Camera, senior vice president, business development, CBS Television Stations; and Brigg Hyland, senior vice president, business development, CBS Outdoor.

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