A-B Web Channel to Debut

NEW YORK Anheuser-Busch said it would launch a broadband video site, Bud.TV, the latest advertiser to try its hand at branded entertainment online.

The site will feature live and archived programs created by Anheuser-Busch’s stable of agencies and production firms, including Omnicom Group’s DDB and Rogers/Townsend, @radical.media, Seed, Omelet and others. The launch is set for February 2007.

Bud.TV marks an ambitious foray by a major traditional advertiser into online branded entertainment. The company hopes to capture the attention of its 21-34-year-old target audience online with a mix of original programming.

A-B is not the first brand to create its own broadband channel. Mountain Dew, for example, has already developed a video destination for its young consumers. Last year, Nordstrom introduced Silverscreen, a branded entertainment channel that features fashion information and music videos. Diageo’s Royal Crown began its own video channel on its Web site. Nike made JogaTV, a site with soccer clips and other video programming, a centerpiece of its online World Cup push.

The advertisers are banking on the limitless distribution of the broadband Internet to help them independently attract consumers, rather than piggybacking TV spots on network programming.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities to connect with adult consumers on a more personal level,” August Busch IV, A-B’s president, said in a statement. “With adults spending more time online looking for entertainment to fit their lifestyles, we believe Bud.TV will enable us to reach them in an engaging and fun way.”

Bud.TV is set to have channels devoted to comedy, sports, news and short films. It will include a downloadable desktop application allowing users to view high-quality video, much like programming offered by Mountain Dew and Nordstrom.

DDB will be lead agency on the project, responsible for management and production, while Rogers/Townsend is designing the site. A-B has tapped Hollywood production companies for content, including Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Picture Show Productions, Kevin Spacey’s TriggerStreet.com and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s LivePlanet.