In-store TV to keep beer buyers entertained

The Beer Entertainment Network has overcome the financial and technical obstacles that were in its path and should be in place in all 95 Brewers Retail beer stores in Toronto by the end of the month, says its founder.Larry Bleau, president...

The Beer Entertainment Network has overcome the financial and technical obstacles that were in its path and should be in place in all 95 Brewers Retail beer stores in Toronto by the end of the month, says its founder.

Larry Bleau, president of the Creative Solutions Group in Toronto, which developed the videotape-based network known as BEN, says he turned down three financing offers before signing a multi-year, $1.5-million deal with Working Ventures.

Working Ventures is a venture capital group sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Labor.

Bleau says he signed the agreement with Working Ventures last December and has also signed a new, long-term contract with Brewers Retail.

ben was due in all 432 Ontario beer stores in May 1993, but was delayed by money troubles and an audio problem with the tv monitors that play the 20-minute tape loop to customers who wait on average six minutes to buy beer.

Brewers Retail is the beer retailing near-monopoly in Ontario.

It is co-owned by Labatt Breweries of Canada, Molson Breweries and Sudbury-based Northern Breweries.

Bleau says right after the tv monitors are installed in Toronto beer stores, work will begin on installing them in the rest of the province.

He says the tape will be the same for all stores and will be changed every week.

Each tape is about a 50-50 entertainment-to-advertising split.

The entertainment is heavily oriented towards men, since most of the beer stores’ two million customers a week are male and BEN’s target audience is men aged 19-49.

The legal age to buy alcohol in Ontario is 19.

A preview ben tape consisted of major league hits, touchdowns and body checks, sports bloopers and rodeo events hosted by Toronto sportscaster Rick Hodge.

Bleau is reluctant to name who the first advertisers on BEN are, but allows they are in the fast food, pay-tv, sports event, automobile, auto after-market and movie industries.

He considers the network the most cost-efficient, male-oriented media property available.