I hope this communication finds you well. For those in the Northeast and Midwest, I am sure you'll agree with me that spring cannot come quickly enough.
Included in this issue of our quarterly newsletter is information regarding our coverage of Signing Day, photo store best practices, and leveraging CBSSports.com and other CBS Sports assets to grow your consumer base. Our "Forward Thinking" piece details the trends in digital advertising inventory. Also, we've included research from Keynote Performance that highlights CBS' ability to protect your brand by ensuring your consumers have the best possible experience when visiting your site.
Please note a change in our quarterly rankings for online store revenue. In the past, we aggregated every store per partner and ranked according to total partner revenue. Starting this quarter, we will rank based on individual stores in order to give you a clearer picture of the space.
2011 is off to a great start thanks to our schools' on-the-court performances, a recovering economy, CBS' best-in-class advertising sales team, and your enthusiastic support of our partnership.
Content Syndication: Signing Day & Basketball
National Signing Day traditionally is a key date for CBSSports.com and CBSSports.com College Network. 2011's edition was no different. You will find a detailed review of traffic and production below, but we would first like to highlight the content flow between our partner schools and the CBSSports.com family.
CBSSports.com promoted more Official Athletic Site Signing Day content than in any previous year. All-Access programming was featured throughout the day on the CBSSports.com home page, college football home page and recruiting arena.
The recruiting programming box, located on the home page all day, featured links to 20 of our partners' All-Access pages on a rotating basis. Examples of this coverage can be found here.
In turn, our Managing Editors sent schools relevant links to CBSSports.com Signing Day and spring football content for use on their sites. Most notably, Dennis Dodd's story about Florida State football was placed on Seminoles.com and Miami (Fla.) posted Bryan Fischer's feature about Al Golden on HurricaneSports.com.
The CBS Sports College Network (now known as CBS Sports Network), also provided content for our partners to use. Schools taking advantage of these videos included Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, and UCF.
The NCAA men's basketball tournament also provided our partners the chance to enhance their OAS content with CBSSports.com video previews. For example, Florida State featured the VCU game preview on their site, as did Arizona for the Duke game.
On average, All-Access videos promoted on CBSSports.com generated an additional 68 views per clip for our partners in Q1.
Photo Store Best Practices
Beyond using the automated purchase options available in Netitor, a great way to drive incremental revenue from photo sales is to create a dedicated page on your OAS that features photos of the week. Marquette utilizes this practice to not only feature their best photos, but to organize their photography by sport and week.
This page can be featured in your rotating headlines, through a graphic click-through on your home or sport body pages, or even in your weekly newsletter. Ask your University Relations representative or Managing Editor for assistance in activating this feature.
Signing Day Recap
As we previously mentioned, Signing Day 2011 was an all-around success, starting with impressive traffic numbers. We produced or matched Signing Day records in four categories, highlighted by a stellar 23.3% year-over-year increase in unique browsers. We surpassed or matched 2010 in all but one category (average page impressions/user session). Here is more information on select categories:
We recorded 1,666,968 unique browsers. Not only did that number represent a 23.3% increase over last year, but also a 46.0% increase over 2009. We also set new hourly unique marks in all 24 time slots. Alabama achieved a new record for uniques by a partner, tallying 105,650. That total crushed the old mark of 68,806 set by North Carolina in 2009. The Tar Heels and Notre Dame also surpassed that '09 total, finishing second and third, respectively. Michigan and Oklahoma rounded out the top five.
In 2010, we hit the eight million plateau for the first time. Not only did we do it again, but we nearly broke through the next benchmark - nine million - by registering 8,985,440 impressions on Signing Day. We set new hourly impression marks in 13 of the 24 time slots. North Carolina received the most impressions with 693,872, topping Auburn by nearly 300,000 impressions. Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson rounded out the top five. On the single-page front, North Carolina set a new record with its "signees list" page, racking up 342,102 impressions. That total ended the three-year run of Tennessee's 2007 Signing Day Central (319,154) atop the list.
Alabama added to its unique browser title by taking home top honors in the video category, with its "Fax Cam" recording 59,720 plays. Notre Dame's "Signing Day Live" came in second with 26,368 plays, followed by press conferences from Michigan, Alabama and Auburn. The below figures regarding total video output are clear indicators that live video plays a vital role in increasing time on site (engagement) and overall traffic.
Signing Day video hits: 236,125
Average hits per event: 3,871
Total uniques (GUIDs): 112,186
Average uniques per event: 1,839
Average peak concurrent viewers over all events: 732
Highest peak concurrent viewers: 7,063 (Alabama Fax Cam)
Total viewing time for all events (in minutes): 5,940,280 (99,005 hours)
Average viewing time per event (in minutes): 18
The complete list of video and Signing Day Central content across the CBSSports.com College Network can be found here.
Schedule Update: Record Inclusion
We have completed a schedule page upgrade that allows you to display select team records on your schedule pages. The records available for display are overall and conference, along with home, away and neutral. You can turn on the display, sport-by-sport, at your convenience.
For more detail, please click here. We hope you enjoy this new feature and let your Managing Editor know if you have any questions.
Image Manager Update II: Bulk Graphic Upload
On January 19, we completed Phase II development of Netitor's "Image Manager" module. Phase II features the creation of graphic management capabilities, namely graphics databasing, as well as aesthetic and other functional improvements to the previous "Upload Graphic" component.
The new features and upgrades give you the ability to:
find previously uploaded graphics with sport, season, date range and keyword search options
download graphics, individually or in batch
sort search returns (by upload date, how many returns per page)
delete expired graphics, thereby keeping your database and the servers cleaner
apply a border, an alignment and a description to a graphic
extend width and file size caps
expand file types allowed
For more information, please contact your Managing Editor.
New Streaming Services Email Address
CBSSports.com College Network's streaming services team now has a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. While email@example.com will still be active until April 22, we ask that you please discontinue using it now.
The new address ensures everyone in streaming services receives your communication in a timely fashion. The team will be using firstname.lastname@example.org in all of their emails to you, as well.
As you may have heard, in early March U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested the operator of channelsurfing.net, a website that illegally streamed copyrighted sporting events. The arrest came about one month after the site was seized by federal authorities, as part of an ongoing HSI investigation into websites that illegally streamed copyrighted sporting telecasts and pay-per-view events. The site had been in operation since December 2005.
A criminal complaint was filed in federal court after the arrest was made and is being handled by the Southern District of New York's Complex Frauds Unit. The site operator is charged with criminal infringement of a copyright and faces a maximum of five years in prison if convicted. The charge contained in the complaint is only an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
New York HSI Agents will continue to press forward in their investigation of online piracy, including sites similar to channelsurfing.net.
This is great news for CBSSports.com College Network and we will continue to inform you of further developments in this battle.
OAS Advertising Placements
CBSSports.com College Network offers many ad units beyond the three Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) core standard units you are accustomed to seeing on our Official Athletic Sites. Below you will find descriptions of our full range of ad units, as well as opportunities that we may implement in the future.
IAB Core Standard Ad Units
728x90 pixels known as a leaderboard or banner
300x250 pixels known as a story-level ad or medium rectangle
160x600 pixels known as a skyscraper
Average CPM of $10-14, depending on length of run, placement, season, etc.
Also known as a "pop up"
Average CPM of $14
Pre-Roll and Post-Roll
A pre-roll ad is a video advertisement that runs prior to main video content within your media player. We recommend ads that are 15 seconds in length maximum.
A post-roll ad is a video advertisement that runs at the conclusion of your video content. We recommend ads that are between 10 and 15 seconds in length.
Average CPM of $20-25
Automatically expands into a 970x418 pixel unit, then collapses into a 970x66 pixel unit after 8 seconds
Cap of two visits per user per day
Average CPM of $20-25
Occurs when one ad placement on a given page is 'locked down' by an advertiser, meaning they are the only brand that will appear for a given time
Provides an advertiser guaranteed placement within a desired site location (high traffic, specific content, etc).
Average CPM of $12-18
Occurs when every ad placement on a given page is 'locked down' by an advertiser, meaning they are the only brand that will appear for a given time
Provides an advertiser 100% share of voice (SOV) for that page
Average CPM of $18-25
Homepage Takeover (HPTO)
A package that includes a pushdown ad unit and a roadblock of all standard ad units on your homepage
Sold on a per day basis
Cap of two visits per user per day
Creates 100% SOV for the advertiser
Average CPM of $25 - $30
Potential New Units:
Rich Media Ads
These units are created by rich media vendors and run within our standard ad placements
Includes ads such as MediaMind's Sidekick ads and other rich media formats offered from Pointroll, Eyewonder, Eyeblaster, Atlas rich media expanding and floating ads, etc.
Average CPM of $15-$45
A rich media ad developed by a third party company that pushes the home page to the side, as opposed to down (with a pushdown unit)
Launches from a 300x250 ad on the homepage and kicks the page to the side, revealing a larger interactive unit
Average CPM of $35
In terms of ad serving, CBS uses the DART for Publishers ad server for all IAB units, pre/post-roll video, and virtually all rich media formats. Ads can be served run of the site (ROS), targeted to specific content sections of your OAS, or even geotargeted by state, city, area code, postal code, and domain targeting (e.g. .edu or .mil domains).
Keynote Performance Click here to view how CBSSports.com College Network stacks up against the competition in the March Keynote Performance Report. You will find that our Network members enjoy greater site performance (average
download time in seconds) and availability (percentage of connection attempts that succeed) than those schools partnered with other service providers. Specifically, in one example, average CBS OAS download time was almost 15 seconds faster than a competitor's site.
Congratulations to the following CBSSports.com College Network partners on their recent NCAA Championships:
Cal - DI Men's Swimming & Diving; DI Women's Swimming & Diving
Connecticut - DI Men's Basketball
Grand Valley State - DII Women's Indoor Track & Field
Kentucky - Rifle
Notre Dame - Fencing
Penn State - Wrestling
Texas A&M - DI Women's Basketball
Wisconsin - DI Women's Ice Hockey