From MIP TV
CANNES — CBS Broadcast Intl. and ad-buying powerhouse MediaCom are pacting for a joint venture that could result in a dramatic uptick in the number of U.S. productions sold to overseas markets on a non-cash barter basis.
The new company, dubbed EyeVenture Media, will try to match global advertisers with appropriate programming in various international markets. CBS-distributed product will take priority, but EyeVentures will also coordinate media buys for non-CBS shows.
Bill Kunkel, who created the CBS Intl. media department four years ago, has been tapped to serve as prexy and CEO of EyeVenture. MediaCom will supply funding for the new company though its MC Ventures investment unit.
“The evolution of the global marketplace has meant changing opportunities and challenges for worldwide broadcasters,” CBS Intl. Topper Armando Nunez Jr. said. “The timing is right for a company which uses traditional media in new ways.”
Same stuff, new mode
One exec familiar with the goal of EyeVenture was even more direct, saying the purpose of EyeVenture “is to get the same stuff out there in a new way.”
With U.S. companies finding it increasingly hard to get their fare on the air in many international markets, EyeVenture will actively expand the international sale of CBS fare on a barter basis.
While common in the United States syndie market, barter accounts for just a tiny percentage of overseas sales by most Anerican producers and webs.
In barter sales, program suppliers forgo upfront license fees in exchange for a cut of ad revenue generated by ad spots reserved for the program supplier to sell on its own. It’s a difficult system to use on an international basis since distribs often don’t have the means to sell ads in, say, Bulgaria.
MediaCom’s presence in 80 countries worldwide essentially solves the latter problem.
Barter could also prove to be appealing to local broadcasters — particularly in smaller countries — who don’t have the coin to shell out for big-bucks CBS fare.
CBS has already been venturing into barter, striking a barter deal last month with the UK’s Channel 5 for “Late Show with David Letterman.”
NBC Enterprises has also been exploring barter as a sales tool, closing in on barter deals with several Eastern European countries for the Peacock-owned sudser “Passions.”