Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shale.tv

Chesapeake Energy has become a huge marketing/PR player in recent years, from the pretty tree on the company's website to the expensive PR campaigns the company has run recently (American Clean Skies Foundation, "Citizens of the Shale" infomercial with Tommy Lee Jones). Chesapeake's latest large scale PR venture is shale.tv, a soon to be launched faux news channel that focuses on the subject of drilling the various shale plays in the US, focusing mainly on the Barnett Shale, where the company has been feeling some heat from the externalities associated with drilling in an urban area. Shale.tv and the "Citizens of the Shale" campaign are both produced by ad agency Ackerman McQueen.

Chesapeake is nothing if not aggressive, both in getting what it wants (in this case massive producing acreage) and in putting its best foot forward. They have bankrolled various campaigns that are vehemently pro-natural gas and soft-pedal drilling in urban areas. The shale.tv campaign is nothing new to Chesapeake (see cleanskies.org), but it should be interesting given the statements Chesapeake has made about maintaining the site/station's independence. Chesapeake is forthright (or egomaniacal) enough to put its name on the site placeholder as the underwriter, but only time will tell if there is real journalistic independence.

I cannot opine on the impacts of drilling in Ft. Worth, but I imagine as the Haynesville Shale plays out, especially near urban areas, there will be much discussion of the pros and cons of drilling in residential areas. I have no doubt that Chesapeake will be a strong and clear voice in that discussion.

No comments: