July 12, 2007
New Industry Deals Demonstrate Shifting Media Landscape

I wanted to mention a few news stories that passed my eye over the past few days that I thought would be of particular interest to C3 researchers and readers, especially taking into account links between online initiatives and traditional television and print properties.

The news includes a new deal between TV Guide and Maven Networks for powering broadband video content for TV Guide's Web site, a cosmetic change for the brand of Court TV to the new truTV, Joost's deal with VH1 to show a sneak peek of the premiere of I Hate My 30s online first, and Bravo's deal struck to do its advertising deals minute-by-minute with Starcom USA.

TV Guide and Maven Networks. TV Guide's choice to hire the technology provider to power its broadband video on its Web site indicates an increased effort to make TV Guide a brand based on more than the print product it is most closely identified with, especially as paper guides have become all but obsolete. Find more at The Boston Business Journal.

truTV. Turner Broadcasting is revamping what was Court TV with a makeover, including new brand name truTV focusing instead on real-life stories and moving away from the court focus. The launch of what is basically a new channel will come on Jan. 1, 2008. The press release states that, "with its new name, truTV joins its sister networks TNT, TBS and TCM in establishing itself a solid, identifiable brand, paving the way for continued growth, comments from Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin. Of course, I thought Court TV was a little more straightforward, but not so much when the content isn't courtroom-based. See more from Andrew Hampp at Advertising Age.

Joost and VH1. Joost will be making a sneak peek of the preview of I Hate My 30s, a VH1 show, on its site 10 days before the premiere of the show on the linear cable channel. Daisy Whitney with TelevisionWeek writes, "The agreement, the first programming deal for Joost with this sort of exclusivity, sends a message that Joost is aiming to be a serious competitor in the race to provide alternative venues for TV watching. Premiering shows online in advance of linear premieres has been a popular new-media strategy for a few years now, with networks including NBC and CBS premiering shows on Yahoo! last fall before they ran on air." See my original post about Joost's deal with Viacom from back in Februrary.

Bravo Minute-by-Minute Deal. Buys for Bravo will be based on minute-by-minute commercial ratings data from Nielsen, as was announced earlier this year, rather than average commercial ratings for particular shows. The minute-by-minute data is considered more accurate because commercials at various points in a show have a greater chance of being seen. As Paul J. Gough with The Hollywood Reporter notes, "It's the first time that NBC Universal has agreed to a deal that uses minute-by-minute commercial data to determine ratings guarantees. NBC Uni was the first this year to agree, with the media-buying conglomerate Group M, to ratings guarantees based on average commercial minutes." Starcom was also involved in The Weather Channel's minute by minute ratings that I wrote about this time last year. For more on commercial ratings, look at this piece from last month.