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    Anheuser-Busch Pulls Plug on Bud.tv

    Cost, effort and focus to produce original content cited as reasons for the halt.

    CHICAGO -- Bud.TV, an online video network created by Anheuser-Busch (A-B), was officially canned last night, according to AdAge.com.

    Anheuser-Busch vice president of marketing, Keith Levy, told the Web site the brewer would be "sunsetting" the online product with a message that notifies visitors the site is no longer available, thanks them for their interest, and redirects them to A-B's branded sites for Bud Light and Budweiser, the report stated.

    The cost, effort and focus required to produce the original content the site vowed to produce was simply too large a task for a brewer to handle, Levy told AdAge.com. "If the networks can't continuously produce that [volume of content], how can a beer company?" he said.

    The site launched immediately following the 2007 Super Bowl, and A-B executives publicly said at the time they hoped the site would draw upward of 2 million unique visitors a month to view a mix of original, unbranded humor, sports and reality programming, according to the report.

    But the site's age verification, which checked visitors' names against a database of state-issued identification, hampered traffic, which declined 40 percent, to 153,000 in its second month. Further, state attorneys general criticized A-B for not doing enough to keep underage consumers off the site, the report stated.

    Levy said the $15 million spent on the site was not wasted, as the company learned some key lessons about marketing online from it, AdAge.com reported. Such lessons include consumers' desire for branded messages they can't find elsewhere, and their eagerness to share what they find.

    "Consumers want branding, and if you tell them a story they don't see on television, they're receptive to that," he said, noting digital efforts remain critical to A-B, and the company would focus future online-video efforts through Hulu, Yahoo, Facebook and other sites, according to the report.

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