According to Ad Age, Bud.TV drew 152,000 unique visitors last month (March), 40% fewer than February's 253,000 visitors, according to numbers released today by ComScore Media Metrix. A-B executives have said that they hope to draw between 2 million and 3 million visitors per month by early next year to the online network, which is costing the brewer somewhere between $30 million and $40 million.
The new "Direct to Consumer" venture from Anheuser Busch has come under a lot of scrutiny and criticism of late, but I want to take this opportunity to throw my weight (90%) behind Bud.TV...or at the very minimum the idea behind Bud.TV
Personally, I believe that special interest groups (read: media companies) are responsible for a good chunk of the pushback from the various State Attorney Generals. There is so much hypocrisy involved that it makes me want to puke. We can run alcohol advertising on the Super Bowl, but online is somehow different...
But I digress.
I think it's early days for Bud.TV and I really hope A-B stays the course. On one hand, they're not in the content game and getting involved in this kind of effort is a committment, as opposed to a one-off campaign-like investment. On the other hand, the quality of content on the networks isn't exactly worth writing home about either...
Personally, I'd love to work on Bud.TV - take that anyway you want to. I'm just saying...
Here are some tips I'd give the executives over at A-B (you may be doing this already, but as a blogger that has not been engaged I wouldn't know):
- You don't need to be running 24x7x365. Start with an anchor tenant like The Sopranos became for HBO and work from there
- Liberate your content - the more platforms you make Bud.TV available, the more likely it will be to be consumed and embraced
- Consider bite-sized programming chunks like Current.TV
- Deploy extensive conversational programs, including blogger/podcaster/influencer outreach.
- Build community around the content and encourage active participation and co-creation
- Explore ways to link purchase of product to Bud.TV - reward your customers and turn them into the stars
- Use traditional media to advertise (yes, advertise) Bud.TV.
- Use your packaging to promote Bud.TV
- Use every single one of your Super Bowl commercials in next year's game (XLII) and then pull out of the Super Bowl never to return. The chaos will make even Bob Garfield smile
- Above all...experiment experiment experiment and be prepared to make mistakes. Your reported $30-40 million investment will be well worth it if you learn from your mistakes and innovate intensely.
There's a lot riding on this and I think there are a lot of people who want you to succeed. There are also a lot of people who want you to fail...don't be distracted by them. Cheers!