Tennis Channel teams with Google TV Ads

Cable sports network Tennis Channel announced May 24 that it will make part of its advertising inventory available through Google TV Ads, the Internet search giant's online platform for buying cable spots.

Google TV Ads has been around for three years, and so far has reached deals with several distributors and programmers including satellite TV operator Dish Network, NBC Universal's cable channels, Bloomberg TV, Hallmark Channel, CBS College Sports and GSN. The online software platform enables buyers to place bids on unused ad inventory as part of an auction system, and integrates with existing traffic and commercial insertion systems to automatically place spots if a bid (based on a suggested CPM price) is accepted.

The system also offers second-by-second measurement to advertisers and networks, which Tennis Channel says it will use to enhance its sales efforts. The network, which is carried by nine of the top 10 cable MSOs as well as Verizon FiOS TV, DirecTV and Dish Network, has telecast rights to various tournaments including the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. It also airs a wide variety of tennis-related lifestyle and travel programming.

"Google TV Ads is an additional tool for us to use in support of the increased demand we're seeing for Tennis Channel airtime," said Gary Herman, SVP of advertising sales for Tennis Channel, in a statement. "Given the strong response we've received in conjunction with our first US Open coverage (in 2009) and our consistent weekly ratings, we're excited to work with Google to maximize the value of our brand right now."

"We're happy to add Tennis Channel to our growing community of national cable network inventory partners," added Hana Chang, strategic partner development manager for Google. "Tennis Channel brings one of the most affluent and desired audiences in television, and represents a tremendous opportunity for media buyers. We look forward to pairing their viewers with the advertisers who will most benefit from what they have to offer."

Google TV Ads is just one arm of Google's foray into the television business. Beyond its Web portal YouTube, which is now selling pay-per-view movies and offering some live streaming sports coverage, Google intends to bring its software platform to television sets to facilitate easy browsing of Web content. Google formally unveiled its "Google TV" effort at its developers' conference in San Francisco last week, alongside partners Sony, Intel, Adobe, Logitech, Dish Network and Best Buy.