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BizReport : Advertising archives : March 09, 2007

"March Madness" takes advertisers online

Fans are headed to basketball arenas in droves in the U.S. and for the second year in a row, advertisers are headed online. With March Madness days away, the CBS network has almost sold out the online advertising slots for streaming broadcasts of the NCAA tournament games.

by Kristina Knight

march madness on demand"Our goal is for [March Madness On Demand] to be year-in and year-out the bellwether online video event by which all others are judged," said Steve Snyder, Chief Operating Officer of CBS Interactive (via MediaPost).

Big brands like Dell and State Farm made the return trip to advertise this year, along with new advertisers like AT&T and DiGiorno Pizza. Rather than running television ads online, CBS will run ads during the stream that were created specifically for an Internet feed.

March Madness On Demand (MMOD) has generated $9 million so far - with games beginning next week - up from $4 million in 2006. CBS has also doubled their bandwidth capabilities and increased the screen size for users. Another indication that consumer demand has increased over last year is that 400,000 VIP Passes - passes that automatically allow the user to watch all of the games - have been reserved. Those who aren't on the VIP package are sent to a waiting room and aren't guaranteed a slot to watch.

For the second year, games will be on an ad-supported model and will be free to users. This is the fifth year CBS Sportsline has broadcast the tournament online.

Tags: CBS, online revenue, online video advertising, streaming video

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