Automakers Can Overlay More Selling Points Into VideosBy Brian Steinberg
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- With the auto industry in dire straits, keeping the ad dollars coming in takes more than just business as usual. So DriverTV, a distributor of promotional videos aimed at enticing viewers to buy a new vehicle, is rolling out a new advertising network and online content.
The new ad network will allow publishers and advertisers to pair overlay and display ads with specific pieces of video content.
Publishers and advertisers will be able to pair overlay and display ads with specific pieces of video content. Viewers watching a segment about the interior of a car in a DriverTV video, for example, may see an overlay ad about new types of leather or audio technology for the car.
"The category is very important to us, and we're looking for all kinds of ways to reach out to in-market consumers," said Devin Johnson, VP-digital media at NBC Universal, which owns a 35% stake in DriverTV. TV production firm Radical Media is another stakeholder. "Any message the car manufacturer wants to place, they can do it and they can correspond to the actual shots you're seeing in video," said Jan Renner, CEO of DriverTV.
The move towards specificity comes as more advertisers begin to question the ingrained practice of beaming ads to the broadest possible audience each and every time. With the rise of the web and smaller cable networks, more advertisers are looking at the idea of targeting a specific demographic or behavioral niche. On TV, marketers are experimenting with addressable ad units, and on the web, placing overlay ads in strategic moments of video.
Charter advertisers in the new network include General Motors, BMW, and Volvo. Launch network affiliates include Cox Auto Trader AutoMart, NBC Local Media, CBS Radio, AskPatty.com, Kosmix RightAutos and The Car Connection.
The Driver TV video player can be "skinned" to match the look of any publisher site. DriverTV will share generated advertising revenue with network affiliates. In many cases carmakers pay for the production of the Driver TV videos and pay for clicks by consumers.
More content, more traffic
Known best in recent months as a video-on-demand selection on cable, DriverTV is broadening its offering at a time when car manufacturers are seeking more non-traditional ways to advertise. As a group, auto marketers are one of the biggest suppliers of ad dollars. The move to widen DriverTV's aegis would not only help the venture deepen relationships with clients, but also assist NBC and other media properties in furthering their ties with car manufacturers.
"The more content around the auto vertical we can have on our sites, the more traffic we're going to get," said Mark Lund, exec VP-local media sales for NBC Universal's local media group. "More content is going to result in more traffic and is going to result in more leads for our dealers." TV stations have been among those hardest hit by the auto industry's woes, with ad dollars in the category slumping in recent months.
driverTV Starts Up New Content Distribution Network
Through the new driverTV network, small and mid-sized Web publishers looking to engage potential car buyers can elect to showcase driverTV content on their sites
-By Mike Shields
driverTV, which aggregates promotional videos for multiple auto manufacturers both on the Web and on various video-on-demand platforms, is expanding its digital reach with the launch of a new content distribution net work.
Through the new driverTV network, small and mid-sized Web publishers looking to engage potential car buyers can elect to showcase driverTV content on their sites. The content comes prepackaged with video and display ads, with both parties splitted any associated ad revenue. At launch, driverTV has inked partnership deals with Cox Auto Trader, NBC Local Media, CBS Radio and others (NBC Universal acquired a 35 percent stake in the company earlier this year).
driverTV has signed on General Motors, BMW, and Volvo to serve as charter sponsors for the new distribution network, which also includes the publishers AutoMart, AskPatty.com, Kosmix RightAutos, and The Car Connection. The company claims it can deliver ads timed to appear adjacent to specific content segments, such as features on various cars’ interior design options.
Founded in 2005, driverTV aims to recreated the car showroom experience on either the Web or in the living room. On the TV front, the company claims that driverTV is available in 30 million households through arrangements with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and other cable providers as well as in 500,000 hotel rooms through a partnership with The Hotel Network.
|DriverTV Launches Ad Network|
| With the help of minority-stakeholder NBC, auto-focused Web site and VOD channel DriverTV has launched a new c ontent and ad network. |
The network, which features the DriverTV's proprietary "Virtual Showroom Experience" videos, allows publishers and advertisers to pair targeted overlay and display ads with its targeted content.
The timing of this launch is ideal since car manufacturers are looking for more effective and cost effective ways to sell cars, said Jan Renner, CEO of DriverTV. "They still have to find a way to sell 12 to 13 million cars next years."
At launch, the network's charter advertisers include General Motors, BMW, and Volvo.
To date, the New York-based DriverTV has focused on producing, aggregating, and distributing promotional video for car shoppers.
In March, NBC Universal's NBCU Digital unit acquired a 35% stake in DriverTV for roughly $6 million.
"NBC was critical to the launch of the network from its earlier investment, to the expertise of their people -- some of whom helped launch Hulu -- to their industry relationships," Renner said.
The deal included rights to acquire a majority stake in DriverTV, along with an option to buy the company outright, at some future date.
Radical Media, a programming and advertising production company, still owns a majority stake in DriverTV.
The DriverTV player can be "skinned" to match the look and feel of any publisher site.
DriverTV also relied on content syndication serving technology provider Adify to enable the sharing of generated ad revenue with network affiliates.
Launch network affiliates include Cox, Auto Trader, AutoMart, NBC Local Media, CBS Radio, AskPatty.com, Kosmix RightAutos and The Car Connection.
DriverTV is not the only company offering car manufacturers alternative marketing opportunities online. Just last week, Burst Media launched a behavioral targeting program to more efficiently target auto ads across the Web.
The Burst Auto Intenders Network endeavors to move beyond content to include behavioral targeting of ads to consumers who have exhibited purchase-intent behaviors.