Marketers Turn to Sponsored Content to Keep Viewers Around
To combat growing tendency among TV audience to skip ads, networks offer customized commercials
By Lindsay Rubino -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/20/2013 5:30:33 PMThe New York Times.
As the upfront looms on the horizon, marketers can expect to pay more for ad time-without a guarantee that the ads are being watched, the report said. But with what is being called "content marketing" (or, alternatively, content advertising, native advertising, branded content, etc.).
Scripps Networks Interactive, which includes DIY, Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel, has been most active in this arena, according to the article. During its multicity upfront presentations in markets such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York, the company has touted its ability to cater to marketers by creating program-styled content, some of which feature hosts of the shows, the story said.
"Each spring, we have lots and lots of account-specific meetings with agency folks, and sometimes the client is in the room," said Jonathan LaConti, VP, ad sales at the New York office of Scripps Networks Interactive, in the report. "We create solutions to meet their needs."
The sales teams, however, must make sure that the commercials look natural; the host, if appearing in the commercials, must also be "closely aligned with his brand," LaConti said in the story. Though the marketing practice takes more effort, the end result, "cuts through the clutter," he said.
During the upfront season before the 2012-13 season, Scripps Networks Interactive booked consolidated ad sales of over $1 billion, said Jon Steinlauf, executive VP, ad sales and marketing at the New York office, the first time that mark was hit, according to the report.
Deals the company makes the produce customized commercials can be valued at more than $10 million each. For example, Scott Miracle-Fro Company struck a deal in collaboration with the MEC agency, part of the GroupM unit of WPP, to include commercials on four cable channels, online ads and advertorials in two magazines, Food Network Magazine and HGTV Magazine, the story said.
Land Rover, sold by the Jaguar Land Rover North America unit of Tata Motors, has also signed on with Scripps Networks Interactive, in collaboration with WPP agencies Y&R and Rubicam, according to the report. The deal includes customized commercials for TV and the Web, titled, "Travel Channel's Road to the Unexpected." The commercials feature Travel Channel host Don Wildman driving Land Rovers around the world, the story said.
"When you co-create with Travel Channel, they bring the perspective of their consumers to the project and help us begin a dialogue with them," said Danielle Koffer, managing director for client leadership at Mindshare in New York in the report,
"This is the fruits of our labors from last year's upfront," she added in the story. "We'll be looking to do more in this year's upfront."
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