Industry News 2/7/2008

USA TODAY Acquires Action Sports Online Destination And Ad Network

USA TODAY Acquires Action Sports Online Destination And Ad Network
 
USA TODAY announces the acquisition of Banquet, which operates the action sports destination BNQT.com and the Cold War Collective action sports ad network of more than 20 affiliated websites and blogs. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Company management will continue in their current roles and the company will remain in Pasadena, Calif. with an executive office in McLean, Va.
 
"USA TODAY's acquisition of Banquet is another example of the innovative ways we are trying to diversify our audience," said Craig Moon, president and publisher of USA TODAY. "We believe that action sports are a dynamic and exciting category and that we have found an excellent stand alone brand which truly resonates with the youth audience."
 
BNQT.com is an action sports video community destination covering more than eight different sports categories, including skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, freestyle motocross, BMX biking, wakeboarding, free-skiing and mountain biking. Its primary audience is young active males, ages 12-34. BNQT.com brings together leading industry sources to create comprehensive daily-updated news feeds for action sports enthusiasts, including video and photo highlights of action sports athletes and event coverage, as well as culture, fashion, music, movies and local events. The site also aggregates the top action sports blogs, creating a single destination for the most influential independent voices in action sports.BNQT.com has partnered with over 50 leading action sports filmmakers and has over 1500 hours of digitized video programming for use on the web. BNQT.com is a distribution network for over a dozen major commercial video portals and IPTV networks across the web, and is the exclusive digital media partner of the NBC/Action Sports Tour (AST) -owned "Free Flow Tour".
 
BNQT.com offers a social networking platform that serves a community of passionate individuals sharing similar interests. Its content forges connections between users who can contribute and upload their video, photos, blogs and more. User generated content as well as professionally produced media comprise BNQT.com's video offerings. BNQT.com also plans to fully integrate eCommerce abilities into the user experience, letting users purchase select items in the content they watch and the ability to purchase downloadable segments from leading action sports films.
 
"We look forward to building Banquet into a global industry leader in the high-growth area of action sports media," said Ross Schaufelberger, Banquet CEO. "This acquisition by USA TODAY allows us to continue being highly aggressive in digital action sports and provides distinct advantages, including increased audience reach, stronger marketing and technology solutions and strengthened sponsorship relationships, while bolstering our core strategies of content distribution, syndication and ad networking."
 
Cold War Collective is an ad network of over 20 action sports sites and blogs reaching more than one million unique visitors per month. Through this ad network, marketers reach the often fragmented action sports audience in a contextually relevant, content-rich environment, with the ability to reach these consumers through integrated marketing and content solutions. The ad network offers in-stream advertising opportunities, including pre-roll, ad curtains and banners.
 
"It's exciting that a distinguished media company like USA TODAY recognizes the growing value of action sports," said Rudd Davis, founder and president of Banquet. "These sports are uniquely dependant on media distribution to unite the fragmented community. Recent technological advancements and changing consumer behavior have significantly altered the media landscape. This has created the perfect environment for Banquet's new media model to bring the scale and reach that has long been absent in action sports."