Even if the game is a blowout and the much hyped Burger King, Pepsi, and GoDaddy.com spots are disappointments, stay tuned to Super Bowl XL during the fourth quarter. During this time, Anheuser-Busch will announce its new direct-to-user online channel, expected to be dubbed “Bud TV.” The King of Beers will team up with Cambridge, MA-based firm Maven to provide consumers with continuous programming, advertising, and branded entertainment. This move has startled the world of media and advertising because it is the first time a major brand has attempted to bypass television marketing in this way.
“This changes the whole concept of broadcasting out to consumers,” says Hilmi Ozguc, CEO of Maven. “Typically media companies have done that. With the Internet, we blow out that old model and enable advertisers to reach consumers directly without having the media companies sell the ad space.” PepsiCo, Chevrolet, Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Sony Pictures have all embarked on similar TV-bypassing campaigns, but “Bud TV” represents the first attempt at creating a permanent, continuously streaming source of content.
Anheuser-Busch will reportedly offer Super Bowl viewers a “season pass” to its new channel, which will periodically download content undetected onto their hard drives until they are ready to use it. Seeing as the game plan has been kept under wraps, there is still no word on what type of content will be offered, or whether it will become available in alternative formats such as iPod or mobile phone video.