preps ad-friendly Internet TV launch

The rise of and its ad innovation plans has been talked about in media circles for months now. Yesterday, the broadcast-quality Internet TV service announced 32 major advertisers are on board for the spring launch.

Thirty-two blue chip advertisers have signed on to support New York-based, the upcoming broadcast quality Internet TV service from the creators of Skype and Kazaa. The project has also listed its channels online, along with notes about what part of the globe you can view them from. Most of the channels are available worldwide, although some exclude Canada (such as Alliance Atlantis SCI-FI and Jump TV Latino). Only National Geographic is listed as specifically available in Canada (and the US). CHUM Television is not on the list, although the company announced a deal with in March to provide content from its MuchMusic, Space, FashionTelevision and CityLine brands.

Coca-Cola, HP, Intel, and Nike will advertise globally through tells MiC that some of the US advertisers signing on for the launch will advertise across North America, including Canada – but specifics were not available at press time (the company also couldn’t provide an exact launch date). US partners named are Electronic Arts, Esurance, Garnier Fructis, Kraft, Lionsgate, Microsoft, Motorola, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Procter & Gamble, Hugo Boss Fragrances, Sony Electronics, Taco Bell, United Airlines, US Army, Visa, and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. In Europe, marketers on will include General Motors Europe with Opel and Vauxhall brands, IBM, L’Oréal Paris, Nokia Nseries, Unilever’s Magnum Ice Creams, Virgin Money, Vodafone, and Warner Bros.

Many of these brands came to through a year-long strategic partnership with Interpublic Group’s LA-based Emerging Media Lab. will measure user consumption habits and advertising awareness, receptivity, engagement, brand enhancement and intent-to-purchase for launch partners through a partnership with Frank N. Magid Associates, which has offices in New York, LA, Iowa and London.

Through, a peer-to-peer-based system, viewers will be able to customize the platform with advanced TV viewing features such as weblinks and plug-ins for instant messaging, message boards, and news tickers. The company says it has worked with more than 20 media and brand agencies in preparing campaigns for the spring launch (the service is now running in beta test). Creative executions include conventional advertising units (stills, spots, overlays and widgets), similar to those found on TV and the Internet, along with innovations in branded entertainment, channel sponsorship and promotion (with clickability). They’re not afraid of the 30-second mid-roll video ad, and they’ve even reportedly got an ‘ad bug’ – which pops a sponsors logo up on the user’s screen and then takes it away a few seconds later.

The service announced its first major deal with Viacom in February, bringing to the table content from MTV, VH1, BET and Paramount Pictures, including top titles past and present such as Laguna Beach, Beavis & Butthead, Real World and Punk’d, along with full-length episodes from Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, CMT, Logo, Spike TV. This month, announced that CBS had signed on to offer new and previously-aired content, including full episodes from the CSI franchise, Numb3rs, Survivor and its Showtime and selected sports brands.

In announcing the list of supporters yesterday, SVP of global advertising Nick Loria says the platform delivers ‘a distinct environment: the ability to micro-target audiences with new and unique ads during professionally-produced programming.’ Global advertising EVP David Clark added, ‘We’re providing unparalleled user statistics and insights, as well as an unmatched level of interactivity, targetability and measurability.’