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Clear Channel creates new entertainment unit

Broadcaster Clear Channel Communications has set up a new business unit to produce live entertainment and related television programming with top advertisers, the company said Tuesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Broadcaster Clear Channel Communications has set up a new business unit to produce live entertainment and related television programming with top advertisers, the company said Tuesday.

The unit, Clear Channel Entertainment Properties, will help marketers cultivate advertising venues with live events, ranging from music to sports and theatrical performances, and then develop them into broadcast material for television or radio and recorded properties.

"Branded entertainment," in which an advertiser becomes closely linked with celebrity performances or broadcast programs, has become a sought-after service to reach consumers as network television viewership declines and commercial messages get lost in a barrage of ads.

"Clients have told us that it is now important for us to start creating customized television (services)," Bruce Eskowitz, president of the new unit, told Reuters. "It's not just about creating a one-day asset but to extend that ... to create DVDs or CDs that work for them on an ongoing basis."

Eskowitz said the new business venture grew out of promotion and sponsorship ties the company developed for its live entertainment business, which helps handle such blockbuster tours as Bette Midler and Britney Spears.

Clear Channel, based in San Antonio, Texas, is the largest U.S. radio station chain. Its Clear Channel Entertainment division has developed promotions for such clients as soft drink giant Coca-Cola Co , brewer Anheuser-Busch and financial services company American Express. The company said Major League Baseball recently signed on for a promotion of its licensed sportswear.

Eskowitz said such promotions can cost anywhere from the "low six figures to the high seven figures." New marketing programs can help tailor an event by routing a concert tour to cities that are key to an advertiser's business and offer on site an instant recording of the concert, he said.

Clear Channel Entertainment owns, operates or books entertainment for nearly 135 live venues.