At a Communications Technology breakfast at the Cable Show in June, Joe Jensen, CTO at Buckeye CableSystem in Ohio, said his company is looking at ways it can provide more value to advertisers.

Steve Piller, vice president/Advertising and Local Stations at Buckeye, later elaborated that one of the things the operator is exploring is a Groupon-like advertising offering.

Groupon hosts a "deal-of-the-day" Website, featuring discounted gift certificates. Retailers can offer products or services at about half their usual market value, in exchange for bringing in new customers. A minimum number of people must sign up for the offer, which provides the retailer a quantity guarantee.

According to Piller, retailers have a love/hate relationship with Groupon. Not only must they sell their products and services for much less, but they also have to share half the revenues with Groupon. On the upside, Groupon has become so popular that the marketing benefits are substantial.

"We are going to offer a deal of the day, integrated with the newspaper company we own," Piller explained. "We want to give advertisers a one-day ad campaign in the newspaper, on TV and in email. Hopefully, we’ll do a better job for the advertiser. We’re in the midst of hiring someone to run it."

Buckeye has dabbled in more technologically advanced advertising, but with limited success so far. Using employees for a test case, it offered DVDs for purchase via TV.

"We’ve taken that limited experience; we’ve got some network capabilities we need to address, updates on software/firmware platforms," added Jensen. "We’re interested in how this can provide value to our customers."

Buckeye also is pondering how it might use set-top data to provide value to advertisers. For example, Jensen said viewing statistics could be matched against public voter information to target Republicans versus Democrats – potentially valuable information for media buyers.

"We have more data now than we’ve ever had," said Kevin Smith, group VP/Spotlight Integrated Media Sales with Comcast Spotlight, at the CT breakfast. "Set-top data gives you census data, how long people watch, interaction data. What we do with it is a process."

Commented John Reister, vice president/chief architect at BigBand Networks, "Obviously, with a keen eye on privacy, you have the ability to take that data and present it in a cohesive way."

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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