The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts



Branded Video to boom in 2013?

Video Insider is a good read, and I recommend following them. Like many sites, they take a pass at Online Video Predictions for 2013. They vary from the cute:

1. The term “This is the year of online video” will be written and stated about 35% more often in 2013 than it was in 2012.

to the sly and accurate, slipping in at the end:

6. Branded content (Branded Video) production will be on the rise, but not enough to grab headlines or the kind of attention this trend will deserve.

In between they predict:

  • an uptick in online video advertising because it’s cheaper than broadcast (likely, plus online advertising can be more accurately tracked)
  • YouTube’s 100 channel project will fade away slowly
  • More html5 compatible ads will become available, replacing or complementing Flash, so we can enjoy the ads on our mobile devices (yay! not!)
  • More real-time buying options for those who care.

It’s the last one, Branded Video, that I am strongly behind. Except they said Branded Content and I have sneakily switched to Branded Video. I acknowledge that they are not exactly the same, but I don’t think it’s in doubt that the biggest growth in branded content is in branded video. I currently have 106 references to branded media in my DevonThink database. While there will be some growth in branded articles, and in some demographics branding a game will make more sense, the growth will be in branded video.

I’m not a fan of advertising and yet that’s the encompassing heading in my library for Branded Video. Money otherwise spent on advertising to someone else’s audience might be better spent owning your own. There will always be a place for advertising supported free content, but I’m interested in alternatives. Branded Video is one obvious way to meet the needs of producers, brands and audiences. It harkens back to the true single sponsor “Soap Opera”. It’s not a new idea at all: Mark Pesce coined the term Hyperdistribution many years ago.

And here’s what I had to say in my Nov 2006 Keynote address to the TV Academy’s NEXT TV Symposium. Hope you can remember the shows I reference from such ancient history, but there would be modern parallels.

The deal is put together with a sponsor who has some affinity with the show’s audience. Like a Surf Wear company sponsoring Laguna Beach, or a BBQ company sponsoring Friday Night Lights.

 Quicksilver – the surf clothing company – are not only commissioning exclusive DVD content to give away with their clothing but they are video podcasting as well. Hyperdistribution is just one little step further.

The single advertiser will have much higher retention and cut through compared to the same ad in a block with other ads. The total investment in outright sponsorship compared with buying a number of commercials across the same show on a network would be about the same.

The producer gets a better deal because the value proposition for the advertiser lets them charge most of the cost of production to the advertiser. Add in one or two product placement deals and the budget is covered.

The viewer gets a better deal because the advertising is limited to, perhaps, a pre-roll ad and a post-roll ad with perhaps a sponsor logo instead of a station “bug”. Done well with entertaining advertising in the style of the show, the ads could become desirable content in this context. In fact advertising that’s relevant to the viewer is not only tolerated but welcomed.


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  • Loren · January 10, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Content creator and end user here–

    [In fact advertising that’s relevant to the viewer is not only tolerated but welcomed.]

    Especially when it’s repeated over and over again, sometimes right after itself, as though nobody was home the first time. Jon Stewart and other regular webcasters is guilty of this. That’s why I’m watching less and less branded content, web-style.

    PBS however, describes a good bookends model closer to the British, with TV usually worth watching.

    Product placements are tolerable in sitcoms– the venue is only barely believable anyway: throwing in a recognizable vacuum cleaner or corn flakes box won’t hurt.

    • Author comment by Philip · January 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

      I think you miss the point. Branded content has no ads, but is an alternative to the constant blast of ads. If there’s an ad, it’s not branded video, but advertising supported video.

      With branded video the content has only subtle references to the brand, integrated into the content, with perhaps a sponsor slide at the end. PBS is NOT branded video, but really advertising supported (with donations).



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