Buyers buoyant about Deep Sky

Corus Radio has unleashed a new one-stop radio shop called Deep Sky that media buyers expect will increase its business and attract more national advertisers to its 50-station chain. While much of what Toronto-based Deep Sky is doing isn't new to the business, buyers are enthused by the firm's unprecedented offers of guaranteed national and regional inventory, one contact person and one-bill invoicing for an entire radio campaign.

Corus Radio has unleashed a new one-stop radio shop called Deep Sky that media buyers expect will increase its business and attract more national advertisers to its 50-station chain. While much of what Toronto-based Deep Sky is doing isn’t new to the business, buyers are enthused by the firm’s unprecedented offers of guaranteed national and regional inventory, one contact person and one-bill invoicing for an entire radio campaign.

Deep Sky is designed to simplify the process of producing and buying radio by housing custom creative writing and production, consumer segmentation and targeting, and scheduling and buying services all under one roof. The unit is currently inking deals with radio creatives in both North America and Europe, and has already confirmed the addition of Toronto-based industry veteran Syd Kessler.

One of the key advantages being touted is Deep Sky’s ability to create daily, weekly or special event programming for advertisers. This isn’t a new service, but in the past Corus outsourced such network programming to Toronto-based Sound Source.

Florence George, VP/media director at Toronto’s HYPN, says that before the new unit, Corus would trade its airtime for the service, airtime that Sound Source could then sell itself. Deep Sky will now offer the same basic services that Sound Source did, the only difference being that all programming will now be produced in house.

GM Francesca Briggs, a veteran of multinational media organizations such as Southam and Hollinger International, is slated to head up the new unit. At the launch, Briggs stated that national inventory availability will be guaranteed, ‘when you need it, wherever you need it.’

Media buyers still have a few questions about that promise, but as Geoff Hossack, media manager at Toronto’s OMD, says: ‘It’s a step in the right direction and should give the medium the opportunity to prove itself to advertisers who have not made full use of radio in the past.’

Kathy Shapka, VP/media director

Palmer Jarvis DDB, Edmonton

My first reaction is that this is their way of competing against national network television, selling all of the Corus radio stations as part of a group like the major newspaper chains and television stations.

I think where we will find it of benefit [as an agency] is in the one call for multi-market buying, and working as a group to develop promotional programs that can be implemented in various markets.

I would question their ability to guarantee inventory whenever and wherever an advertiser needs it. This would be quite a thing to do, but I think a little more explanation is required here. Because they have multiple stations in each market, I can only assume they would give you the inventory on one of their stations that is not as strong as their number-one station in each market.

Geoff Hossack, media manager

OMD Canada, Toronto

Deep Sky is something that has potential. It may not be an option for all clients, but it does provide a means to target some key consumers via radio. The Corus stable of radio stations is made up mainly of news/talk, rock and classic rock formats. Overall, it skews male, and reaches high-income earners.

The way I understand Deep Sky is that through their own research, Corus has the ability to find those listeners who are most likely to have intent to buy a specific product and then target them by radio format and geographic region.

Guaranteed inventory is a big step forward. There’s nothing worse than trying to put together a targeted campaign only to find that when we get to the point of booking, the airtime on the stations that will make it work has disappeared.

Customized programming is not a first. It is a service that Toronto’s Sound Source Radio Network does currently provide, but it can’t hurt to have more of it out there. And, by the sounds of it, Corus has made a serious effort to find writers who are capable of producing a very high quality product.

Deep Sky is also promising a one-person contact and a one-bill invoice. Again, network radio sellers, including Corus, do currently provide this service for network radio features, but an entire campaign, including brand-sell airtime, on a single invoice definitely helps out. Less paperwork is always a good thing.

Florence George,

VP/media director

HYPN, Toronto

I think that it’s helpful in that it gives an advertiser with an idea the opportunity to go to Deep Sky and have them develop something that will work really well for them.

If you have a client that has a national-based business, I think it makes it easier because it’s one-stop shopping. So I think [Deep Sky] could drive a little bit more money to the radio network. I don’t know if you’d get it any cheaper though, because if competition is cut down, it doesn’t help your cost.