I nvention leads to more invention, at least for Channel M.

The pioneer in the niche of non-traditional media is honing inventive ways to sell the traditional varieties of media such as movies and music.

Non-traditional media refers to in-store advertising, particularly in-store video. Channel M is one of the oldest and largest in-store video producers in the world, having started in 1989. The company has clients such as EB Stores, Payless Shoes and Kampgrounds of America and boasts of reaching 2.8 billion consumers annually.

By 2002, Los Angeles-based Channel M had revolutionized in-store TV by creating custom networks for stores. And like a real broadcast TV network, the company began selling advertising. For video game chain EB Stores, for example, Channel M still produces a monthly two-hour looped tape in an "Entertainment Tonight"-like format that screens in more than 1,350 stores.

When Hollywood Records, a division of Burbank-based Walt Disney Co., approached Channel M about promoting alternative rock back Breaking Benjamin, it spawned a new round of inventiveness.

Instead of just appearing in EBTV commercials, lead singer Ben Burnley reviewed video games and talked about his favorite gaming moments. The in-store channel also copped some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage during the filming of a BB music video.

"If you're a gamer it's relevant, and if you're a Breaking Benjamin fan it's totally relevant," said David Teichner, Channel M's chief executive. "It's a perfect example of taking something that's been done for awhile into new directions."

The project combined an established record label, gaming and in-store video. It didn't hurt that several of BB's songs gained fame due in part to their prominence in the games "Run Like Hell," "WWE Smackdown!" and "Halo 2."

"This kid's whole life is about rock 'n' roll and video games. The tour bus has every platform game box imaginable," said Rob Souriall, vice-president of strategic marketing and promotion at Hollywood Records, referring to Burnley. "It makes for a great relationship between rock 'n' roll and gaming, and you can't beat the demographics."

Souriall times the EBTV coverage to break during a 45-day window around the release of a CD. He works directly with Channel M, not through the label's ad agency. He noted that BB's latest offering "Phobia" sold 124,000 units during its first week of release, which started Aug. 8.


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