There’s a new breed of branded programming

I agree with David Benady (No need to switch channel yet, MW August 10) that the industry relies heavily on the 30-second spot and until alternative models are proven will continue to do so. Unfortunately, viewers with a less enduring attachme

I agree with David Benady (No need to switch channel yet, MW August 10) that the industry relies heavily on the 30-second spot and until alternative models are proven will continue to do so. Unfortunately, viewers with a less enduring attachment don’t have any compunction about zapping or skipping through them. Own up, we all do it.

But I would take issue on his point about branded content. Clients are seeking to create positive, rewarding experiences by providing branded information or entertainment on radio, or by using events, customer publications and, of course, online. But branded content on television is synonymous with advertiser funded programmes, where the broadcaster still calls the shots over the programme’s content, when it is scheduled and how it is commercialised. But things are changing.

Under a highly unusual broadcast licence and using a simple business model, clients of Information TV can buy the hours they need to broadcast their own branded programmes. They retain control over the content, can decide when to broadcast them and how to promote them, inviting their audience to make an “appointment to view”. Ofcom rules on product placement still apply, for brands, but not public bodies. But this is using TV to do more than sell product. It is about using the medium to allow interested and willing viewers to become an engaged and potentially activated audience through the power of a client’s own programme.

Note that in this model, clients promote their own programmes, just as they might promote their website, call centre number, retail branch network. When can we expect to see a brand or a public body run ads across network TV, inviting the audience to change channels and “watch our programme” that’s starting now on Information TV channel 181? Offers anyone?

Bill Gash

Information TV

London W1

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