Can CNN Guarantee Away-From-Home Deliveries?

This upfront season, we’re seeing CNN plant the seeds of a new strategy that may or may not bear fruit.

Greg D’Alba, EVP and COO of CNN ad sales, is putting forward a new stripped-down video pitch that shows off the true power of CNN’s 24/7 news-gathering approach – while also telling them he can guarantee away-from-home deliveries.

No one has ever attempted the away-from-home guarantee before, mostly because it’s incredibly difficult to prove and therefore very hard to convince ad buyers to pay for. The idea is that networks will tailor their news to the viewership in restaurants and bars, hotels and other third-party viewing channels, including away-from-home residences.

Part of the strategy is to begin appealing to younger viewers, who traditionally don’t often watch TV to get their news, though CNN says that studies prove that they’re the TV channel the younger generation prefers when they do tune in.

This strategy also draws the focus away from prime time, preferring to guarantee viewership on a 24-hour schedule. Previously, viewing outside of prime time netted only 10% of CNN’s total revenue – with their new strategy; it looks like CNN is hoping to shift that number upwards.

That is, if media buyers take the bait.

More Consumer Response to DRTV Means More Sales

Coca Colas’ decision to include DRTV into its marketing is a big indicator of how effective DRTV campaigns can be and how far the soft drink giant has come.

In 2006, the global soft drink empire first introduced “My Coke Rewards” program. During this time, Coke didn’t use much DRTV advertising to promote its products.

Adding DRTV to the mix.  But last year, Coke marketers decided to use DRTV to increase the reward plan’s visibility. Their DRTV campaign strategy was designed to redirect viewers to visit a special website where they could enter the codes obtained from Coke product purchases in exchange for merchandise.

Coke’s combined use of traditional and DRTV advertising was part of a marketing strategy to promote the program by encouraging visitors to visit the website to establish brand loyalty.

A popular marketing strategy. Many other big brand marketers have since followed Cokes footsteps. They recognize the benefits of including DRTV into their marketing strategy. In fact, according to TNS Media Intelligence, big brand marketers like Coke have started spending a lot more money and focusing more attention on DRTV advertising.

Media buyers appreciate DRTV because it’s inexpensive, provides measurable accountability and a higher percentage of consumer engagement. Also, direct response advertising offers more variety beyond the typical 1-800 number call center.

New, cutting-edge advertising options, such as web destinations and mobile sites, are now available. All of this is available at half the cost of traditional advertising spots.

No magic pill. The downside to DRTV advertising is this: No audience guarantee and direct response sellers have the authority to preempt spots without notice if a better deal comes along.

Still, increasing pressure on marketers to provide accountability and tightening budgets are making DRTV appear to be a viable media solution that provides measurable results.