We've had a few networks dip into the New York Upfront event picture for the first time this year. A number of those networks play on leading satellite distributor DirecTV, whose own Audience Network channel carries original programming as the Thandie Newton-starring Rogue and Guitar Center Lessons. DirecTV had its own upfront debut Tuesday night,
Venue : Center 548, another one of those unique performance spaces close to the High Line overhead walkway and West Side Highway. First by stair and then elevator, the crowd went assembled three floors up at a "Welcome To The Future" with video booths, funky lounge chairs in the center and women standing with champagne glasses, all accompanied by loud DJ music.Grade: 3.5 Jacks
Presentation : With a splashy video proclaiming DirecTV as "the best video experience on earth," the company's key ad sales executives invited advertisers to pony up more dollars for both national ad time on various networks (taking breaks set aside for local cable avails) and a range of interactive feature opportunities, such as NFL Sunday Ticket game stat charts, or free offers with coupon tie-ins, with a recent Burger King campaign on display "This is a smart platform," one executive declared. "We have the most sought-after audience, an audience that watches 10 percent more TV than cable subs." Similar glowing factoids on viewership were spaced throughout the speechmaking, culminating with the intention to launch dynamic ad insertion on a wide scale this fall, Nielsen and third-party data will be used to address specific ads among customers by geography or demographics. Some local sports stars--NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning and running back Akeem Nicks, and NY Jets lineman Eric Mangold--wowed attendees and helped pump the message. Grade: 4 Jacks
News : The dynamic insertion methodology will be in operation by late fall, with buys available by channel or channel genres (news, entertainment, sports, etc.). Several upcoming interactive applications will connect with NBC's coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics next February in Sochi, Russia. Whether intentional or not, DirecTV had nothing to say about Audience Network, including the new Neil LaBute-written series Full Circle (coming this fall). Grade: 3.5 Jacks
Host : The ad executives made their pitches short, sweet and engaging. Grade: 3.5 Jacks
Overall Grade: 3.5 Jacks Good first effort that stayed on-point. with its addressable/interactive message. Had Audience Network been showcased, another half-jack would show up.
5 Jacks - Excellent
4 Jacks - Very Good
3 Jacks - Good
2 Jacks - Fair
1 Jack - Poor
0 Jacks -Worse than bad
Observations from the passing parade:
*Martini Media's post-Newfront breakfast panel (co-moderated by Jack Myers, operator of this website) contained this revelation from BlogHer co-founder/chief executive Lisa Stone. "We've got a growing business from LG and Samsung smart TVs." Later, Stone told me viewership of her Web site on those smart TVs is taking off. Remarks like that demonstrate that any Web site, smartphone or tablet app, not to mention advertiser, not having smart TVs front and center in their immediate or foreseeable future plans is missing a big boat.
*That Verizon/MIT Enterprise Forum NY meet-up highlighted in my last column did very well Tuesday night. Enthusiastic crowd and much discussion about smart TV application development. Most telling: venture capitalists showed up to catch the discussion for themselves. Let's see if this leads to a crack in the VC "TV is not my bag" attitude. Bring this meet-up back to NY soon.
*Internet Week NY shapes up to be sensational week after next, with the widest range of worthwhile events to catch yet. Unless there's a gigantic attitude transformation by PKPR, the public relations agency handling IW, the majority of reporters who want to cover this week will not get in. For the third year running, most reporters will get the boot after numerous attempts to contact PKRP for confirmation, then are notified near the last minute they must pay for attendance. My question: why does IW's management put up with the kind of behavior that does a big disservice to their venture? Either PKPR rises up and handles the demand for coverage, or turn the accountability over to an agency that can. Period.
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