*Discovery* Communications gobbled up online reference site HowStuffWorks for $250 million back in late 2007, and network brass told us that HSW would be the company’s “primary platform” for online growth. Well, has the company delivered on its promise? We asked Discovery’s EVP of digital ad sales Kathy Kayse at the Reinventing Advertising Conference at CES:
— Increased traffic: “It’s about a year into the integration process and we’ve seen significant growth in unique visitors and page views to both sites [Discovery.com and HSW],” Kayse said. “This year, we’ll focus even more aggressively on cross-channel promotion and integrating more Discovery (NSDQ: DISAB) content onto HSW.”
More after the jump…
— Streamlined ad buys: Can a brand use a single RFP to run a campaign across Discovery’s various TV channels and websites? Kayse said yes. “We’re better positioned this year to provide more customized solutions, both pure-play and cross platform … We’re looking at a very strong Q1.” She also said that she expected advertisers to continue to be willing to spend for newer ad formats like widgets.
— Branded entertainment series coming down the pike?: Given the glut of network-produced (and brand-sponsored) online shows — like NBCU and SciFi.com’s Intel-sponsored Gemini Division series — we asked Kayse if we could expect any branded entertainment plays any time soon. The short answer — not likely. “We have a unit called Discovery Studios that creates branded content for the TV and web, and [the ad-sales division] would work on it if we had the right opportunity,” she said. But, we can expect to find more of Discovery’s own short-form video content popping up around the web. “We’ve been very aggressive about pushing our video content,” Kayse said. “From our partnership with YouTube, to our relationship with AOL (NYSE: TWX), and we hope to announce more partners soon.”
The rest of our coverage is on our CES 2009 channel