What’s the deal?

When you're the new kids on the block, you've just got to try harder. Here's what some of the new diginets are trying, plus reality checks from media directors.

When you’re the new kids on the block, you’ve just got to try harder. Here’s what some of the new diginets are trying, plus reality checks from media directors.

Product placement

* Although he won’t name names yet, Global Specialty TV’s Scott MacLeod says that Discovery Health and One: Body Mind & Spirit will go after the kind of association that’s worked well for the Food Network with Kitchen Aide. ‘But we’ll only do it when we can integrate product placement into a show in a way that’s good for the viewer and the host without compromising editorial.’

*Craig Broadcast Systems’ Wayne Sterloff says MTV’s suite of shows (MTV, MTV 2 and MTV Canada.com) plans to offer product placement to ‘possibly a large entertainment company, in the gaming or video context, that would like their products to appear on the set of a daily television program.’

Reality check

What’s Carat Canada’s Caroline Gianias take on product placement?

‘It’s very difficult to do unless it’s a Canadian-produced show. Say I’ve got a particular sports shoe that’s not part of a global marketing effort. I’d need to sell the production people outside Canada on our frame of reference and that could be tough.’

Show ownership

*Jerry Mackrell says Corus Entertainment plans to offer ownership positions on diginets such as Discovery Kids, not just on-air but also on their Web sites.

*Global’s MacLeod says he’s ‘talking to a number of advertisers about how they might roadblock across all of our properties. So if it’s a coffee, tea or breakfast cereal manufacturer, say, why don’t they own two-hour blocks of our morning time across all our networks? And maybe we’ll have viewers win a trip to a spa or something like that.’

* Sterloff says Craig is aggressively marketing its MTV properties to ‘charter sponsors as an opportunity to be among the first advertisers to be seen branding or associating themselves with original content for this hard-to-reach sector.’

Reality check

OMD Canada’s Sherry O’Neil says, ‘We’re definitely looking at a couple [of diginets] that are pretty obvious for certain clients. I believe there’s no limit to what we can do with this.

‘Getting in on the ground floor for what a station may be five years from now, to me only makes sense if you’re going to own a particular property. Then you’re building equity in that property and your association with it.’

Carat’s Gianias says she ‘wouldn’t necessarily advise clients to pay for an ownership position unless it’s offered as part of a charter deal. In other words, if a [diginet] was willing to commit all its shows to us for X dollars, maybe we would talk.’

Flagship shows

*Many nets are touting their flagship shows as key slots for advertisers. Citytv’s VP, GM of Production, Marcia Martin, says Fashion Television Week will be the flagship show on Fashion TV when it debuts later in the year. The SexTV show, which currently appears on Citytv, is the flagship show for the SexTV Channel.

Reality check

Ammirati Puris’s Darryl Nicholson is skeptical. ‘What I call a flagship show is something like Sex and the City, which is so popular it sells itself. I’m wondering if what BBC Canada calls a flagship show is something that’s big with British audiences but we’ve never even heard of here and doesn’t have a lot of advertisers.’

Contests and events

* Global’s MacLeod said several of the company’s diginets are planning contests similar to one currently running on Fox Sports World Canada for Tetley’s English Ale (the prize is a trip to England for a rugby match).

He also says Global is considering sponsored on-air events timed for Mother’s Day, Christmas or Thanksgiving, ‘where people could hit on all of our stations at a similar time in a relatively short period of time and just appear to be everywhere getting their messages across.’

* Mackrell says next year Corus will begin ‘taking the Discovery Kids experience’ to malls in Ontario.

* Craig’s Sterloff says MTV is planning televised ‘stunt weekends as major events, such as extreme sports with a large music backbone’ and offering sponsorship positioning along with ‘the opportunity to have products placed in a lot of key shooting spots.’