Friday, May 25, 2007

BRANDED CONTENT HAS A FUTURE; branded destination sites, not so much.

"Bud was right on with the idea of branded content," said James McQuivey, an online content analyst at Forrester Research. "Where they ran into trouble was with the idea that they had to be a destination site."

The beer maker grabbed the attention of marketers and the media last year when it unveiled a $30 million plan to challenge Hollywood with a branded digital entertainment network. In an oversized write-up, The New York Times Magazine called it "the most ambitious and costly effort to date of a marketer creating Web content tailored to its own specifications."

In March, the number of unique visitors to the site dropped 40% to 152,000 from February, according to comScore. Even worse, traffic to the site in April was too low to be measured.

In the case of Bud.TV, Anheuser-Busch may be a victim of its own pride, according to Phil Leigh, an analyst with Inside Digital Media.

"There are only a few media players who rise to the level of a destination site, and everybody else is in the long tail" said Leigh. "Anheuser didn't want to be part of the long tail, but now they may have to."

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