Columbia NBC-affiliate KOMU purchases online-coupon company

Jul 25, 2012

Local NBC affiliate KOMU has purchased The Holos Network, a daily deals company that offers online coupons.  

When the daily deals company Groupon began its ascent four years ago, television stations were worried.  Groupon let local businesses reach a large audience without paying the high upfront fees of a television commercial.

Local stations across the country got into the online coupon business themselves to stave off that competition.  University of Missouri-owned KOMU joined the pack with the acquisition of The Holos Network, a young daily deals company based out of Jefferson City.

But can a local television station compete with the likes of Groupon?

“It’s very different from Groupon and i really hesitate to compare it to Groupon, although it has some similar options,” says KOMU’s director of audience development Matt Garrrett.

He says that while Groupon typically sends daily coupon offers via email, The Holos Network lets users choose from local business that they like.  

Another difference is flexible discounts.  With Groupon, the retailer offers a discount of about 50 percent.  Then, half of that revenue goes to Groupon.  For the retailer, this amounts to a 75 percent discount.

“We believe that that model over the long haul is not sustainable,” says Holos Network President Marc Backes. “They’re not going to engage in that kind of platform for any consistent basis mainly because they can’t afford to, it doesn’t make sense for them.”

Backes says he doesn’t lock retailers into this 75 percent discount model, which helps to foster longer term relationships.

Neither KOMU or The Holos Network would comment on the price of the acquisition.  KOMU bought the license, the technology and the 10,000 subscriber user base.  Some portion of future revenues will be shared with the Halos Network.