Closed: Bud.TV

ABI discontinues its online Bud.TV

Bud.TV, a groundbreaking but ultimately unsuccessful entrée into online marketing, has officially died.

Anheuser-Busch’s VP-marketing, Keith Levy, said the brewer will be discontinuing the website. Visitors will see a message that notifies them 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 ambitious project, which was to produce reams of original content equal with many TV network sites, was simply too large an undertaking, Levy said. “If the networks can’t continuously produce that [volume of content], how can a beer company?” he said.

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

But the site’s aggressive age verification, which checked entrants’ names against a database of state-issued identification and sometimes kept even legal-age consumers out, proved a significant obstacle to traffic, which declined 40%, to 153,000, in its second month. Adding insult to injury, a group of state attorneys general ripped A-B for not doing enough to keep underage consumers off the site, boxing the company in further.

Levy stressed that digital efforts will continue at A-B, saying the company would focus future online-video efforts through Hulu, Yahoo, Facebook and other sites.