TitanTV Sees Network Model On Web

Local TV is hardly a growth industry. What about local TV websites?

We have a hard time figuring out why Web surfers would head to their local station’s site, but NY-based Titan TV thinks there’s a great business there. It has a mix of products it sells local stations who aren’t getting help from their network partners, the newest of which are syndicated shows they can stream themselves.

Titan, founded by software entrepreneur Jack Perry, started out a decade ago licensing technology to DirecTV that allowed it to beam the correct local stations into specific media markets. Later, it launched an online channel guide for TV affiliates that would have the correct local listings, regardless of location.

Now, in addition to producing web shows for online syndication, Titan can attach geo-targeted ads to the video; a New Yorker watching local affiliate coverage of the Omaha mall shootings would get New York-relevant advertising.

Spearheading Titan’s video efforts is former MSNBC vice president Mark Effron, who jumped into the online world when he joined Titan TV Media in May and was recently promoted to president and COO.

SAI: What does Titan TV Media do?
Effron: We are recreating the local affiliate model on the web. We think the web hasn’t done a great job targeting local, and we want to help local TV do that. It’s an alternative model that allows stations to monetise.

Your ad targeting business is relatively new, have any stations signed on?
We started signing up first affiliates in October. We are (soon) announcing a deal with a large station group–we are going to populate their portals for them.

The ability to target local advertising came from Titan’s TV listings technology?
Titan TV figured out for DirectTV if you say who you are and where you live our technology tells DirecTV what local station they are obligated to give you based on where you live.

How would this work with advertising?
A local car dealer would be a higher CPM if you live 10 minutes from the car dealership than if you live 40 miles away. Local stations are beginning to recognise the potential of taking a show running it in syndication and putting local ads in front of it (on the web).

What’s the business model for Titan?
We set up stations with a player, back-end tools, and give them some guidance. We do a revenue-split on the advertising.

What’s the status of network-affiliate relations? It can’t be good, given declining ratings and digital distribution.
The issue is this: if you are an affiliate you have sat there and watched the network do all these deals for distribution channels that have for the most part not involved you. I think belatedly there has been some concern the affiliates haven’t been top-of-mind.

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