Rosemary Danon, VP Online and New Media, Pappas Telecasting Companies

1. What is your role at Pappas?

Rosemary Danon is the Vice President of Online and New Media for the Pappas Telecasting Group. She directs interactive marketing and media campaigns throughout Pappas Telecasting’s group of stations and is developing content for the company’s digital broadcast channels.

Pappas Telecasting Companies is the largest privately-held, commercial television broadcast group in the United States in terms of U.S. Household coverage as defined by Nielsen Media Research. The company owns 27 stations, including market-leading FOX, The CW, ABC, CBS, Azteca America, and MyNetworkTV affiliates, and operates four other stations under local marketing agreements, in most regions of the United States. Also, Pappas owns 16 on-air digital channels, runs three others under LMAs, and holds construction permits to build 10 more television stations. In total, Pappas owns or runs stations in 24 Designated Market Areas.

The initial mobile advertising effort has sponsors for local weather, traffic and sports text alerts. Altel is one of their big sponsors of this service. It is successful.

2. What are some of the challenges the company faces?

Some of the challenges that Pappas faces is closing the loop with the retail industry at the point of sale. For example, advertisers want to do more mobile coupons. Mobile coupons are difficult to redeem with the current Point of Sale technology in place at the retailers. There needs to be more cooperation in retail, so the retailer does not have to retrain all of their salespeople and the consumer can enjoy the experience.

“We are working with General Mills on their Get Fit America campaign. General Mills will test new products. The campaign includes On-line and Mobile parts. A Get Fit Mobile Text Alert, Get Fit Video Tips with Moderators and a Mobile Coupon for these new products.” says Rosemary Danon. “The brand is frightened that if the consumer cannot redeem the coupon, that will reflect badly on them.” It is this fear that stops many brands from implementing more mobile campaigns.

So, how do we connect the point of sale with the consumer so the consumer, retailer and brand can all have positive experiences? “We can select a local market to test the campaign to show that mobile coupons works, and then extend it to other larger markets”. So Pappas will work with locally owned retail stores in one of their television markets, to test the idea which can then extend into larger markets.

Many advertisers want to do more mobile and on-line campaigns. In television, interactive agencies currently do the buying for online and mobile campaigns. The advertisers are going direct to the television companies, because their media planners can incorporate the multi-platform buying and campaigns better than the interactive agencies.

3. What are some future plans for Pappas?

Local Content is a passion. One of the initiatives is to have local experts have direct access to their consumers. For example, in home improvement, Pappas will create market specific, suitable content. It will include How-To Videos for the Morning News and On-line. Thus, if you wanted to build a deck, the wood a consumer would use for Fresno, CA would be different from the wood for Lincoln, NB. So the local experts would tell consumers which is best depending on the weather and environmental conditions.

Local Search is something else that Pappas is working on. They have created a database of every business in a local area. People will access the database from their local area. This page will also contain blog pages, local business videos and city guides. Everything that will be on air, will be on-line.

Community Correspondent will be syndicated nationwide with newspapers. It is dominating in the market where the stories are appearing on the news. These stories become national stories. The community correspondent is an individual that shoots video by their cell phone or camera, and then uploads it to the local station’s website. The Digital Millennium Safe Harbor act governs the video. Submissions are pulled for profanity, and clear copyright violations. For example, a shooting occurred in Fresno, CA and community correspondents filmed the incident and the license plate of the perpetrator, which aired on the local news.

There are 6,000 registered regular contributing community correspondents in 8 markets: Lincoln, NB, Omaha, El Paso, TX, Reno, Fresno, Souix City, ND, Coloumbus, GA, and Yuccoma, WA.

The community correspondent can even be an election predictor. During the recent November elections in Nebraska, pictures of President Bush were taken and posted on the community correspondent page with comments. The comments did not agree with the President’s policies, but did enjoy the pomp and circumstance of seeing the President of the United States.

So while most people are trying to figure out how to do mobile and on-line advertising, Pappas has already figured it out and is one of the innovators in the interactive and mobile space.