NYTimes.com today writes about the rise of Wal-Mart TV (password):
"According to Wal-Mart and to an agency that handles its ad sales, the TV operation captures some 130 million viewers every four weeks, making it the fifth-largest television network in the United States after NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox.
While other retailers have experimented with in-store television, Wal-Mart's network, which is available in almost all its 2,600 locations, is the most extensive.
Late last year, the company hired Nielsen Media Research to evaluate its network (Nielsen does not regularly measure Wal-Mart TV viewers the way it does with the broadcast networks). The study found that shoppers watched Wal-Mart TV an average of seven minutes a store visit, 44 percent longer than in a similar study in 2002.
According to Wal-Mart's rate card, advertisers pay $137,000 to $292,000 to show a single commercial for a four-week period, depending on the length of the ad and the number of stores where it is shown."
In reality, the network is much bigger. The whole thing is run by a company called PRN, who claims to be "the creator of the world's largest in-store media network. We broadcast meaningful information to over 5,000 stores including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Costco, Sears, SAM’S CLUB, Circuit City, Ralphs, ShopRite, and Pathmark. Each week, more than half of the U.S. population visits a store with the PRN Network. PRN delivers over 180 million gross impressions every month with average brand recall of up to 65%."
-- "The average recall of a brand advertised on Wal-Mart television is 66%, compared with 24% for brands advertised on in-home television" - WSJ quoted on Brand Autopsy.
-- More on Nielsen's study on PRN (November '04)