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Content partnerships overview

Brands can do more things with TV now than ever before and now the world of content partnerships – where brands get closer to TV content – is a hotbed of innovation and fruitful collaboration.

Key points

  • TV is the home of premium content, world class production expertise and huge loyal audiences
  • TV content partnerships enable brands to tap into the unique relationships viewers have with their favourite shows: it’s one of the most powerful things a brand can do.
  • Broadcaster-brand partnerships can include combinations of sponsorship, advertiser-funded programming, advertorials, interactive content, competitions and promotions, licensing, televised brand events, product placement, two screening and video on demand. 
  • There are effective content partnerships to fit all sorts of brand objectives
  • Today’s content partnerships can be found around the programme, in the programme, in the ad-break and off-screen.

Passion points

We’re in a golden age of TV content. The quality and breadth of TV on offer is astonishing. TV has always been cultural glue – people love talking about it almost as much as they love watching it – but the bar has been raised and with it people’s passion.

And this is great news for brands because they now have a huge range of ways to tap into this passion - enhance it even. The broadcasters are very flexible and keen to work closely with brands to tailor content-led activity to specific needs.

Association with, or co-creation of great content, is incredibly appealing to advertisers: it gets to the heart of storytelling and therefore audiences.

Broadcasters and their programme brands have deep relationships with loyal audiences. So by partnering with them advertisers can reach large audiences and leverage premium content at scale.

What are content partnerships?

A content partnership is when the communication strategy is dependent on the editorial values of the programme or it has editorial-style properties. The association is the communication and the brand can borrow values and attributes from the TV content, and people’s feelings for the programme rub off on the brand. So, for example, if a brand sponsors a comedy show then they can come to seem more light-hearted, if it sponsors a youth programme it can be seen as more youthful.

Broadcaster-brand partnerships can include combinations of sponsorship, advertiser-funded programming, advertorials, interactive content, competitions and promotions, licensing, televised brand events, product placement, two screening and video on demand. Find out more about the wonderful world of content partnerships.

Content partnerships mccain
McCain products featured extensively in Emmerdale as part of their PP and sponsorship deal with the show

What can content partnerships achieve?

What can’t they achieve? Well they can’t get stones out of a horse’s hoof, but in other respects TV content partnerships are a marketer’s Swiss Army knife.

There are effective content partnerships to fit all sorts of brand objectives, from launching a brand, to enhancing, shifting or reinforcing a brand’s image, to extending event rights, to gaining retail listings. 

Long-term brand building

By building a long-term partnership with a TV programme, a brand borrows its values. The longer the partnership, the more rooted the association becomes and the deeper and more trusting the relationship with the viewer.

Brand repositioning 

Repositioning a brand is one of the hardest marketing tasks. Borrowing values from TV programmes can be a more subtle and implicit way of changing how people feel about your brand than spot advertising. It can reduce the possibility of rejection.

Short-term response

At the other end of the spectrum from long-term brand building, a content partnership might be about driving short-term response. So a brand may utilise a content partnership, such as sponsoring a channel or creating special content, for an intense short burst – say for a film launch – which will enable it to rapidly gain attention and drive immediate sales. The in-built frequency that comes with certain types of content partnership works well to generate response.

Normalisation

This is a facet specific to product placements in TV programmes. Regularly seeing products in shot or being used in programmes – for example, in a soap – helps to establish them as a normal part of life, an accepted part of our day-to-day.

Tess Alps

Forming a partnership with TV content is one of the most powerful things a brand can do; it can play an integrating role across every element of brand marketing from internal communications to on-pack promotions, and adds some magic while delivering the goods.

Tess Alps, Thinkbox Chair

To sum up

From sponsorship to contextual advertising, the number of ways in which brands are getting closer to content is expanding all the time. TV has never been more flexible or accommodating and there are content partnerships to fit all: big or small, and to fit short or long-term objectives.  All brands have to do is talk to the broadcasters and they will do their best to create a content-based solution that delivers.


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