DirecTV, Dish in ad pact

Satellite TV giants team on ASAP for national advertisers

NEW YORK -- U.S. satellite TV giants DirecTV and Dish Network on Monday unveiled the joint launch of the Advanced Satellite Advertising Platform (ASAP), an interactive ad collaboration to give national TV advertisers reach to the firms' nearly 30 million U.S. households.

The move comes after cable operators last year launched Canoe Ventures to pool their reach to offer broader digital advertising opportunities.

The alliance is also a way for the sat TV giants to work together in key areas without pursuing a full merger, which has often gotten all the Wall Street attention. Both management teams have in the past signaled collaborations on technology and other issues are a possibility.

The acronym "ASAP" is not only a reference to Dish and DirecTV's ability to immediately offer a broad national TV solution, but also "a play on advertisers' current needs for a more efficient, nationally-scaled interactive television platform," they said.

ASAP will allow marketers to showcase long-form advertorial content on a dedicated channel in addition to interactive opportunities, such as additional product information, photo galleries, simple gaming, regional locators and requests-for-information (sweepstakes, product samples, ordering informational brochures or coupons).

"Together, we bring the scale, ease of use and analytics that we believe will power interactive TV into the mainstream among clients," said Michael Finn, vp of advertising sales for Dish.

Added Bob Riordan, senior vp of advertising sales for DirecTV: "Our combined advanced television efforts will bring the marketplace unmatched expertise and an unrivaled nationally scaled experience."

ASAP will use third-party research services to help provide advertisers with data.