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DirecTV Adds New Ad-Sales Categories

5/26/2002 8:00 PM Eastern

DirecTV Inc. next month will expand its advertising-sales efforts to three new network categories: children's, Hispanic and regional sports.

On June 3, the direct-broadcast satellite provider will start inserting ads on children's networks, as well as seven of the 22 Hispanic channels found on the DirecTV Para Todos service: Telemundo East, Telemundo West, Galavisión, CNN en Español, Fox Sports World en Español, Canal Sur and mun2, said vice president of advertising sales Kirk Kopic.

Two weeks later, DirecTV will launch ads on 10 of its regional sports networks, including its most recent addition, Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, said Kopic.

The direct-broadcast satellite provider began selling commercials three years ago. To date, it has inserted units on 60 general-market networks.

The company also sells ads on its Web site and in its printed programming guides.

Kopic said the company has begun ad insertion tests on regional sports networks. That poses a logistical challenge for the company's six-person traffic department, who must monitor the timing of insertions more closely during live sporting events than during shows with predetermined schedules.

"There's a lot of value in it," said Kopic of offering a cluster of regional sports networks to national advertisers. "I can piece together a national footprint if I need to, for an upscale audience."

For the first time, DirecTV could also go after regional clients that the national provider hasn't been able to attract in the past, he added.

"If there's money out there, I'll go after it," said Kopic, a former Viacom Inc. executive.

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Although many national advertisers already buy ad time on the cable networks in DirecTV's lineup, Kopic said that spots on the DBS service could help reinforce the message to a targeted number of customers who tend to have high incomes, own homes and cars and travel for business.

"We're a very upscale platform," Kopic said.

Cablevision Systems Corp.'s refusal to carry YES — a start-up with exclusive rights to 130 New York Yankees baseball games — has helped generate more awareness for DirecTV among both consumers and advertisers, Kopic suggested.

"Because the advertising community is largely centered in New York, we're more on their radar screen than before," he said.

Kopic would not say how many customers DirecTV Para Todos serves, but he admitted that it's less than the number of general-market subscribers DirecTV had when it launched its first ad sales three years ago.

 

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