During the premier week, Sept. 19-23, CBS will have Chevy Impala logos digitally embedded in scenes during five different shows, including Yes, Dear. Viewers who see a logo can fire up their computers, go to the CBS website, and enter the sweepstakes to win a new Impala.
Product placement -- or, in this case, logo placement -- is a prime competitor to the traditional paradigm of commercial advertising. In this world of TiVo
This contest is a cool way of achieving such a goal. I know a lot of people dislike intrusive advertising, but I myself tend to support it. And the networks and sponsors have little choice in the matter. They're not doing as well as their counterparts in the cable portion of the sector, so they must increase their creative quotient when it comes to advertising.
For CBS, growing its ratings over time will be more critical than ever. Viacom, as we all know, will be splitting soon. CBS will be grouped together with assets in one half, to be called CBS Corporation. But the other half, which contains the MTV Networks and will be called Viacom, might grow faster over time because it has a higher potential of expanding earnings multiples. As I've stated before, I personally would be more interested in the Viacom portion of the split -- the one with the MTV properties.
As for GM, this sweepstakes is a smart way of making sure people actually see the Chevy Impala promotion. Of course, it's not going to solve all of the automaker's problems. Read this article by Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo, detailing how the company's earnings per share and free cash flow are being challenged (oh, and don't forget pension pressures).
Sure, GM is sporting a yield of better than 6% right now, and it could indeed hold value for those banking on a turnaround. Speaking for myself, it's not a stock I am currently looking at, especially for the long term. The auto industry can be a rough one, and I'm not enthused by the dividend history at GM -- the quarterly payout has been the same for several years. For now, I would seek companies in other industries.
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