'A nice research element'
ABC is charging marketers between $100,000 and $200,000 a quarter to participate in the online program. "ABC provided us with an opportunity to learn about the technology and what the hurdles are. There's a nice research element to this, what kind of shows consumers are watching. They're interactive ads," said Karen Soots, marketing media manager at Red Lobster.
Red Lobster is using its interactive spots in the stream to market its "Endless Shrimp" promotion. When the company's ad comes up, the viewer will see both a commercial and the locations of Red Lobster restaurants in the viewer's area. The ads will also ask viewers questions about their demographic groupings and will give them the opportunity to join the restaurant's Overboard Club. Ms. Soots said consumers will have to watch the commercials if they want to continue viewing the shows.
ABC's web initiative has garnered interest from a number of marketers, including Toyota Motor Sales, Century 21, JP Morgan Chase, Honda, Masterfoods, Nissan, Remax, Royal Caribbean, Sony, Sears, Subway and Visa. But telecom companies seem the most eager to jump on board. This time around Verizon Wireless and Verizon DSL and Sprint join the online program. AT&T and Cingular had supported an earlier ABC test stream in May. It's not clear if they will be returning to the initiative in October.
Day after broadcast
The web-streaming push will include three of ABC's most popular programs -- "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy." They will replay on the site alongside some of the network's fresh entries for the fall season, including "Six Degrees," "Ugly Betty" and "The Nine." The shows will appear the day after they premiere on broadcast, with four episodes available at a given time.
ABC said earlier this month that it had worked with the ABC Affiliate Association to allow local affiliates to participate through local ad sales and other branding opportunities.