It makes good business, this showbusiness

The research on marketers’ views of advertiser-funded programming (AFP) (MW last week) was very revealing. It confirmed their widespread belief in the effect personal video recorders (Sky+, TiVo) will have on television consumption habits, and that TV programming aligned with their own brand would have unrivalled marketing value. It also revealed their willingness to commit substantial funds to do so.

The survey did, however, show that marketers are confused as to where to turn to get expert advice on strategy, ideas and execution. Some of them default to their advertising agencies, some to their media and PR agencies, while others would try to deal directly with either production companies or broadcasters.

This tends to happen with any new sector. Existing agencies try to claim it as another “string to their bow” – and some clients try to go it alone – until the sector becomes sufficiently interesting and complex to justify specialist advisers.

It says something about the speed of growth of the new “brand content” sector that these advisers already exist: specialist agencies which have invested in bringing the necessary expertise together to guarantee really innovative, effective approaches and solutions to this new marketing channel.

In this case, agencies which understand that TV programme (or other content) development has to be a more collaborative process than any other marketing discipline. Agencies which understand and can navigate both the TV production and broadcast communities – and agencies which have developed new strategic and creative frameworks for marketers that make developing AFP comprehensible, enjoyable and valuable.

Mike Falconer

Managing director


London W1

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here