G4 Video Game Net Flexes Ad Muscles

LOS ANGELES Comcast Corp.’s agreement to purchase Vulcan Programming’s TechTV today, and Comcast’s plan to merge it with its video game network G4, “get us in the [ad upfront] game in a much bigger way,” said Dale Hopkins, G4’s senior vice president of advertising and affiliate relations. The terms of the agreement were undisclosed.

G4 has penetrated 15 million homes since its 2002 launch, Hopkins said. The acquisition and merger effectively creates a cable network of 44 million viewers and opens the Los Angeles-based company to new advertisers who previously were deterred by G4’s relatively small reach. Hopkins predicts, based on past discussions with marketers, that the network will see more clothing, fast-food chains and cars such as Hondas and Toyota Scions targeting “young, hip males.”

“Our demographic is that elusive 12-34 male, and we’ve always had the advantage of content that resonates,” said Hopkins. “We had cars, movies, snacks, music, games, anybody looking for young males. A lot of advertisers knew exactly what we are doing from the beginning and got on board.”

G4’s co-marketing agreements have included a live-action/animation commercial for Jeep, incorporated into a G4 program; a multi-year promotion with Pringles; and a cross-promotion with Microsoft Xbox and Mountain Dew. “We set up ‘Dew Dens’ in malls to play Xbox live, and made that into programming,” Hopkins said. “And many of the marketers are advertising in video games themselves.”

Hopkins said the new reach of the network would not water down G4’s offerings. “Nick stays true to kids,” she said. “We stay true to gamers.”