Wednesday

Is the Internet the ultimate platform for Branded Entertainment?

The proliferation of broadband Internet service is making time spent online a regular behavior in the daily lives of consumers. And just as brand marketers are starting to reconsider the value of the online programs, so are the content producers, with traditional networks along with ESPN, Scripps, MTV, Comedy Central and others, launching or being in the planning stages of creating channels that will deliver on-demand video content to the web. So far, early efforts have been simple repurposing of existing made-for-TV content, but many entertainment giants as well as niche players (some of whom are teenagers creating shows in their backyards) are developing Internet-only original content.

Enter the Webisodes…
Webisodes are original content made for the web in a serial format, and right now there aren't many good ones out there. This means that quality entertainment, such as can be created using studio-approved assets of your brand’s product placement or promotion, is a great way experiment with this medium and, get great results. Doing so, also poses little risk. For example, it’s early enough that you can make some mistakes and not do much damage. It’s early enough that if you do it right, word will spread quickly and reach a big audience. It’s early enough that you can be seen as a brand that ‘gets it.’ It’s early enough that it's easier to be totally original. Lastly, you can do all of this for a relatively low cost. In fact, you can test the waters with the cost of producing one or so TV spots - or less if you create a highly user-driven program.

So go ahead – secure that perfect product placement, and then blow it out with a great online program. Just remember to give consumers ownership, and make it very interactive!

Examples:
1. Warner Bros' Mostly Martha (starring Catherine Zeta Jones) - the perfect platform to celebrate culinary arts, hospitality, and other thematically-relevant online content, with such audience grabbers as recipies, around-the-house tips, and more.
2. ALMA Awards (ABC) - The awards celebrate Latin achievements in TV, Film and music. How about creating your own shorts and coupling those with special footage from the event such as bloopers and interviews, for connecting with a Hispanic audience?

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