Where’s all that content going to come from?

Content is a growth industry.  Speaking recently to the Sunday Times ITV’s Adam Crozier said “The demand for content has never been higher.  It’s a $50bn market globally growing at 5-6% a year.  Whether you started life as a fixed telephony company, a mobile provider or an Internet company what differentiates you is what content you have on your service.”


Where’s all that content going to come from?


There was a discussion at Festival of Media a couple of years ago about whether it was a brand’s job to make content.  I’ll admit that I didn’t really take to this language particularly.  Call me oldfashioned but i think that a brand’s job is to sell stuff primarily.   But without a shadow of a doubt branded content has a role to play in driving sales.  We don’t just consider advertising with all its strengths and weaknesses as the alpha and omega of the media plan.   A comms plan can be more effective when it includes branded content as long as we are clear about how paid owned and earned work together and so long as we make sure that it is accountable.


At a recent debate at the RTS chaired by Claire Beale the possibilities of branded content were debated.  Claire pointed out that of course TV was funded originally by branded content.  Soaps are called soaps because they were funded by soap manufacturers originally.  She played a Flintstones episode with cigarette endorsement that probably helps to explain why on so many levels the UK has never allowed such blatant association of brands and TV programmes.  Do watch it – it works on so many levels !


I made it clear that we are still massive believers in advertising of course, but that every answer to a client brief does now consider the role of content in addition to or instead of advertising.


Producing branded content is still not as simple as it could and should be.  There a fewer benchmarks in the public arena and bigger promises made about videos “going viral”.  There are more disappointed branded content managers out there than there should be.  Basing your entire campaign on earned media alone is like betting your budget according to the horse racing tips on the wireless.


Tiffany Rolfe, CCO at co-collective has blogged some comments overheard at a judging panel. They’re all worth bearing in mind as content comes to have a well deserved place on the media plan.  They include :


“Its like they made this for someone in prison” ie who can’t escape.  Just because you can go for longer than 30 seconds doesn’t mean you should.


“Look a video without a hashtag!” how unusual – there’s only so many hashtags even a millennial can take.


“i’ll never get that 3 minutes back”


On a more positive note : laughter and tears – if you can tap into a universal human emotion you are on to a winner.



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