The explosion of multi-platform content this year has spurred the main terrestrial experts to restructure their organisations and revamp their commissioning structures to meet the rise in demand.
Earlier this week Channel 4 unveiled a new line up of interactive video ad formats in a bid to forge closer relationships between its viewers and advertisers.
They aren’t the only broadcaster doing this. Projects like Channel 5’s interactive Facebook voting app for Big Brother and ITV’s activity around Coronation Street’s 50th anniversary have accentuated the growing popularity of multi-platform programming.
These relationships represent a massive opportunity for agencies to start demonstrating the potential value of these emerging new ad formats to their clients. If brands want to capitalise on a market that media research company, Screen Digest predicts will grow to 80m people watching online video via connected devices by 2015, they will listen.
Indeed, production agencies like KEO Digital and So Television, have been demonstrating the value of said partnerships since last year with projects including Hugh’s Chicken Run and The Graham Norton Show respectively.
Last December, independent production company Somethin’ Else worked with Channel 4 and drama producers Company Pictures to launch a major social campaign ahead of the fifth series of teen-drama Skins, which aired in January.
Activity centred on a site, where fans of the shows could communicate with the show’s characters via email, which would then feed back into the show. By blurring the lines between what’s content and what’s marketing the campaign came across as an extension of the show, and should be viewed as a template for how agencies need to start approaching TV and by extension online video.
This year’s winner of the Blades TV Media award, UM London, are another example of an agency working with a broadcaster [again Channel 4] to deliver a series of TV spots that were innovative, but also managed to bring together several brands for the launch of Microsoft’s search engine Bing last year.
According to planner Keith Welling the idea of the ads centred on taking over the whole of ad breaks between pre-determined shows and giving the impression to the audience that Bing searches are responsible for the ads they were about to see.
“From the break retention stats we analysed, more people actually sat through the ad breaks during the shows we had the Bing breaks between. We also saw an uplift in searches, which was a main objective of ours, and also saw great feedback on the ads on Twitter,” he says.
Branded content is rapidly catching up with the traditional forms of media and in order to truly understand how these emerging ad formats can be integrated into wider marketing strategies, agencies and broadcasters need to understand how the other works.