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April 10, 2015
The Power of Branded Content
 
The way consumers get their entertainment is changing rapidly, causing media networks and brands to adopt drastic measures to stay not only relevant, but in business. Recent news reports say that specialty programs like the Weather Channel have been dropped by Verizon FiOS, DirecTV (dropped it once before, now still in contract), and maybe more in a way to cut costs and streamline resources.

Television and cable producers are fighting off upstarts like Sling TV and a la carte options like HBO Go and the CBS app. 

What can a brand do to help with this situation? Branded content.

We have been seeing a slow move towards this option. Though it may be inevitable, we will continue to advocate that it is one of the better options for channels to stay afloat and for networks to maintain their revenue. Branded content can be as entertaining as it is informative. For example, AdWeek interviewed one of the producers for the film What Lives Inside. The film is sponsored by Intel and revolves around its latest model, the Dell 8 7000 tablet. 

The film, shot as a full-length feature, was broken up into four episodes and premiered on Hulu. 

This branded content — or product placement; however you wish to call it — can be a dependable piece of revenue for networks and streaming sites. Need help coming up with original programming? How about pairing up with Facebook about a group of friends who created a Facebook group and started a movement? Or, the next thriller series could follow a journalist who gets their tips by decoding Twitter hashtags. How about a Carnival cruise ship director who is also a detective and solves crimes on different ships?

Like the article in AdWeek says, people will connect to the character and will then be exposed to the product. Create the narrative, and as long as the narrative is good, the consumer will develop positive feelings for the brand and the product being displayed.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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