Brand Funded Entertainment: The Next Generation of TV?

Brand Funded Entertainment
Photo by Fonsi Fernández on Unsplash

On a Wednesday back in January, we attended an RTS panel that explored whether brand funded entertainment is the next generation of Television

As we all know, brands have an exciting opportunity to create content that viewers will engage with and be engrossed in. Yet, they’re frequently turning to TV Production companies to help make high-quality, appealing and enjoyable content.

In an increasingly jumbled advertising and marketing environment, viewers’ attention is declining. It matters all the more, and it’s even more tricky to attain.

Yet, this isn’t suitable for longform video, which has a longer and more effective lifespan. The panel discussion looked at this new trend of brands investing in entertainment as a way to engage new audiences.

As a new income stream for production and television companies, how can companies augment on brand funded entertainment?

Will there be an impact? How can the TV industry prolong its excellent standards? And will TV be paid in majority by brands in the next 10 years?  These are questions that the panel addressed.

This RTS panel was hosted by Sam Glynne, Head of EMEA, Entertainment and Culture Marketing at United Talent Agency.

She was joined by Katherine Marlow, Senior Linear Branded Entertainment Lead at Channel 4 and Richard Wilson, CEO at CLICKON.

Also on the panel were Helle Jabiri Falck, Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Biites, Adam Puchalsky, Global Head of Content at Wavemaker and David Granger, Content Director at Cinch.

The panel discussed how branded entertainment has been around for years. Whether that’s Red Bull Media or the Lego Movie.

But what is it? It can be an original piece of IP, a segment, a product placement. Quite simply, brand-funded entertainment is entertainment funded by a brand.

It can also appear anywhere, on multiple media platforms. But the most thriving platforms include broadcast, publishers, streaming services and social media, says Helle Jabiri Falck of Biites.

There are of course some creative and compliance challenges to getting a TV show on TV because it’s funded by a brand.

Katherine Marlow of C4 says there are many types of branded entertainment. These include commissioner led, brand briefs and producer led deals.

According to Adam Puchalsky of Wavemaker, if you have a good partnership, honest storytelling and a distributor, this should make for good brand-funded entertainment.

Take Red Bull as an example, whom David Granger of Cinch used to work for. It started as an energy drink company that was prepared to invest.

It went from creating longform stories about athletes to having documentaries on Netflix to being commissioned by other brands to create content. It now has its own award-winning Media Company.

In terms of eCommerce, especially since Covid-19, audiences are more likely to buy what they see on TV shows, and it drives business. Also, in terms of content, pushing boundaries is a good way to integrate brands into entertainment.

So, we know brand funded entertainment is a great way to engage audiences and have a relationship with content, but is it the future?

The panel agreed it may be in 10 years’ time, but when asked if it’s possible to do it simply, there was a long silence!

Lumina would again like to thank the Royal Television Society. A highly enjoyable and fascinating evening.