Scatter Market: Viacom snares Monster TV deal

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On the eve of the TV advertising upfront, TMP Worldwide's Monster has inked a multimillion dollar, cross-platform deal with Viacom-a rare move that parks all the online job site's network, syndication and cable scatter money at the media company for the remainder of the calendar year.

Unlike many deals initiated by cross-platform sales groups like Viacom Plus, the online job site itself came calling for the pact, estimated by media executives at $15 million. The deal encompasses Viacom's broadcast, cable and syndicated TV, online and outdoor properties, including key placements on CBS, MTV and VH-1.

"We have never done this level of business with Monster," said Lisa McCarthy, senior VP, Viacom Plus. "We got 100% of their TV money from the second quarter through the fourth quarter."

Viacom declined to reveal financial specifics of the deal, although Ms. McCarthy said the Monster dollars were "significantly incremental" to what Viacom properties booked during the same time periods last year. For 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR, Monster spent $41.4 million on all measured TV spending.

The value of cross-platform deals is still open to debate. Some media executives are unsure of the value of these deals, since sometimes the seller gets incremental overall dollars in exchange for discounted cost per thousand [CPMs].

But that was not the case with Monster and Viacom. "This was dollars were "significantly incremental" to what Viacom properties booked during the same time periods last year. In 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR, Monster spent $41.4 million on all measured TV spending.

The value of cross-media pacts is still open to debate. Some media executives are unsure of the value of these deals, since sometimes the seller gets incremental overall dollars in exchange for discounted cost per thousands.

That was not the case with the Viacom deal. "This was not CPM-driven," said Peter Blacklow, senior VP-marketing, Monster. "We went to the media companies with a specific dollar figure we wanted to spend. Yes, we certainly looked at the price, but it was not in a vacuum. It was the quality of the programming that drove the deal." Mr. Blacklow said other major media companies' with TV-centric cross-platform groups were also offered to pitch for the business.

Monster's marketing effort is built around a "Take this Job and Love It" promotion. In a twist, Monster is holding a contest awarding the winners a short-term job in TV-at Viacom properties. Monster will also sponsor a segment on "CBS Marketwatch," a weekly financial syndicated TV show distributed by Viacom's King World Productions. The segment, to be called "The Monster Report," will deal with employment and human resource issues. Monster also gets a co-branded Web site on "CBS Healthwatch."

Monster President-Chief Operating Officer Mel Karmazin has been a champion of cross-media deals, and Viacom says it is witnessing a change in the way these agreements are handled. Ms. McCarthy said recent Viacom Plus pacts weren't sought out by Viacom, noting that instead, many agencies and advertisers asked for requests for proposals from the media giant. She believes cross-media advertising deals are entering a new phase.

PICKING AND CHOOSING

"Clients and ad agencies are sending out RFPs," Ms. McCarthy said, "We are getting to the point of deciding which ones we are going to do." Viacom Plus, already has inked a half-dozen cross-platform deals, including ones from Cadbury-Schweppes' Snapple and Johnson & Johnson, claims to currently have 10 such RFPs.

Last year, Viacom Plus' biggest deal was a one-year, $300 million pact with Procter & Gamble Co. Ms. McCarthy said discussions are underway to see if P&G will renew.

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