You'll Never Guess Who Has a Content Deal With Bud.TV

Female-Oriented Oxygen Set to Air Clips on A-B's Testosterone-Heavy Web Channel

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CHICAGO -- Anheuser-Busch developed an online TV network to reach its core young male beer drinkers in new ways, so how better to lure them to Bud.TV than with programming from the femme-filled Oxygen network?

Chances are, 'Girls Behaving Badly,' the Oxygen show or the real thing, would appeal to Bud.TV's male demographic.


Really.

"Bud.TV was looking for content, and we said, 'Hey, we've got great content for you,'" said Jeanne Cavanagh, Oxygen's exec VP-advertising sales. "Our programming is young and playful and slightly naughty."

Two-way content deal
The "six-figure" deal -- which was still being finalized earlier this week -- sprung from an A-B sponsorship of the network's martial-arts show, "Fight Girls," and has evolved into an unusual two-way content deal, in which A-B is not only buying the rights to put its brand on Oxygen's programming, but is also getting Oxygen's content for its online channel.

Assuming the deal is finalized, Bud.TV will pick up excerpts from Oxygen shows such as "Girls Behaving Badly" and the "Bad Girls Club," which ought to fit thematically with current offerings such as the serial "What Girls Want" and the "Budweiser Select Lingerie Search Tour."

Despite the apparent fit, Ms. Cavanagh acknowledged that it was unlikely Bud drinkers were spending much time watching Oxygen. "We are always looking for ways to expose the Oxygen brand to people who might not otherwise see it."

The agreement also calls for links between the Oxygen and Bud.TV home pages. Any traffic boost the partnership provides would be much appreciated by A-B's visitor-starved site.

Lowered expectations
Before the network's February launch, the brewer said it hoped to snare 2 million to 3 million monthly visitors by the end of its first year. But after it drew on 253,000 in March, according to ComScore Media Metrix, and even fewer in April, A-B revised that goal down to 500,000. Then, in May, the audience shrank below 100,000, small enough to not even register on ComScore's survey.

But it may have gotten a second chance of sorts when a discarded Bud Light Super Bowl ad called "Swear Jar" hit the site and went viral, driving June traffic back up to 136,000, as well as snaring more than 1 million YouTube views.

Since then, A-B has been more willing to use heavily branded content on its site, including Bud Select brand's animated "Crowntown" series of digital shorts.

A-B VP-Digital Marketing Jim Schumacker said traffic on the site declined during July, but that the brewer is planning some new awareness-raising measures for next year that he hopes will restart audience growth. He declined to elaborate.

More deals planned
But Mr. Schumacker did say he expects A-B to cut more deals where its traditional on-air sponsorships call for it to receive content for Bud.TV in return.

"I think people may be initially shocked to hear we're getting content from Oxygen, but they're becoming more male," he said. "We'd like to do more of this, because it's a good way for us to get new content."

The Oxygen clips should begin appearing on Bud.TV within the next 10 days, he said.
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