CMP Technology’s ‘The News Show’ retooled for relaunch

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In a sign of how quickly online video is morphing for b-to-b media companies, CMP Technology has started to retool “The News Show”—on hiatus since the Aug. 31 edition— in an effort to give the online program a more sophisticated look.

“When we first started, [the show] was very low tech and it was on a shoestring budget,” said Fritz Nelson, senior VP at CMP Technology, who has been charged with revamping “The News Show.” “But now, in a world of online video we have to push to go to a higher quality.”

Nelson added: “Low-tech had its appeal at the start, and [users] thought it was charming. But over time, people expect more professionalism in online video, and we have to find a way to stand out. … We’re moving away from amateur video to quality video.”

The program, which debuted in June 2005, ran daily and featured IT execs tackling myriad technology issues. “It’s been temporarily put on hiatus, sort of like ‘The Sopranos,’ ” Nelson said, adding that CMP is hoping to relaunch the program in early 2007. “We want to take a breather and develop a new iteration.”

CMP has recruited professional video producers and directors to improve the program. The length of “The News Show,” originally between five and seven minutes, will likely be reduced, Nelson said.

He is also exploring whether to infuse more straight news into “The News Show” and considering sprinkling a little humor into the program as well. “We’re looking at every angle,” he said.

CMP in the next few weeks will huddle with past and potential advertisers on “The News Show” to get a better handle on “what works and what they want to see,” Nelson said.

Sponsors of the show have included AT&T, CA, Dell, IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Other b-to-b advertisers—including Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems—have recently contacted CMP about creating additional online video programming.

David Hallerman, senior analyst at online research firm eMarketer, said b-to-b media companies need to iron out the initial bugs of online video to make it a more effective marketing vehicle.

“In terms of business communication, some people need a formal tone to online video,” he said. “The other perspective is: In a world where people are bombarded with information [b-to-b media companies] might do something more entertaining in online video in order to cut through the mass of information.”

According to eMarketer, spending on online video advertising will reach $410 million this year, 82% more than was spent in 2005, and $2.9 billion by 2010—a projected 11.5% of total online spending ($25.3 billion).

CMP continues to run “CRN TV,” a weekly online video program that covers the reseller channel. Next week, CMP debuts “CIOs Uncensored” on Information Week’s Web site. The program, which is set to run quarterly, will feature a series of seven separate interviews with CIOs from top companies, such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Yahoo!

“We’re investing in online video with both human and technology resources,” Nelson said.

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