June 17, 2021 | Share this article

ReachTV emerges as a player in this year’s upfront as brands shift dollars to minority-owned media companies

As media agencies push advertisers to shift a portion of their ad commitments to Black and minority-owned media companies during this year’s upfronts ad haggle, some long ignored players are starting to emerge. One of those is a ReachTV, an out-of-home media company that has TV screens in airports and other locations.

IPG Mediabrands’ Magna struck a deal with ReachTV, which was founded by Lynnwood Bibbens in 2016, to bring its clients opportunities for sponsorships and content integrations, among other things, on its nearly 2,500 screens in approximately 90 airports across North America and the United Kingdom. ReachTV also has customized dashboards for marketers and can pinpoint placements near airport retailers selling their products.This is the latest deal for ReachTV, which features a mix of “uplifting” original programming, as well as content from A&E, AMC and NFL Network, among others. Earlier this month, it announced an expanded content deal with NBCUniversal that would bring news, sports, entertainment and even Peacock programming to ReachTV screens. As part of the deal, NBCU will also use its sales muscle to make ReachTV a part of its pitch to advertisers, providing sales support and market intelligence to ReachTV.

Bibbens says he has seen a real shift in the marketplace this year and expects to sell about 60% to 70% of ReachTV’s inventory in the upfronts. In previous year’s ReachTV did not sell any inventory in the upfront marketplace.

One benefit for ReachTV is that it is Nielsen-rated, allowing agencies and clients to better asses the reach of their campaigns. Other minority-owned media companies have struggled with landing ad dollars due to a lack of Nielsen measurement, something agencies and brands are looking to work around this year.

The investment from Magna and others, Bibbens says, will allow him to predict revenue and better plan from a business perspective, something other media companies have long been able to do. “This helps level the playing field,” he says.

For Magna, the commitment is part of its broader plans to shift 5% of clients’ budgets in aggregate into Black-owned media channels by 2023. ReachTV was part of the agency’s Equity Upfront in the spring, which showcases minority-owned and diversity-led media companies.

Uptick in airport traffic

The interest in ReachTV also comes as consumers resume travel and brands prepare for an uptick in airport traffic during the summer months.

“As we launch our partnership with ReachTV, our clients will see the immediate benefit of how minority-owned media companies not only provide them with exciting content environments, but also closely connect them with highly desirable and hard-to-reach consumers in engaging ways,” Dani Benowitz, president, U.S., Magna, said in a statement. In addition to supporting equity in media, brands who put ReachTV in their mix are positioned to capture consumers as they start traveling again and excitedly renew connections with loved ones.”

When CNN ended its airport network in March, Bibbens saw an opportunity to expand the companies reach into some top markets. ReachTV has also expanded its screens to include restaurants, bars and lounges and newsstands, among others.

Bibbens says there are more content deals coming, including opportunities to work with more Black-owned media companies and help provide them with scale and drive eyeballs to their content.

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