ADOTAS – The entire ad ecosystem is in a state of flux. As traditional broadcast outlets and publishers struggle to create high-quality content and programming to capture viewing audiences and the dollars of brand sponsors, many are looking towards the promise of native as the next step in advertising. The New York Times and Forbes has recently dabbled in the native realm online, but now television is getting into the game.
In an industry first, NBCUniversal (NBCU) announced this week its foray into building native 30-second spot television commercials for Xerox and plans to air them on broadcast cable, news and sports channels. NBC News has been an early adopter of online native formats — meaning, in this case, sponsored editorial content — but now it is bringing this model to television.
“People today consume content on the go. They want easy, digestible information to become better informed about wide-ranging topics,” said Seth Winter, executive vice president, News and Sports Advertising Sales Group, NBC. “Simplifying how audiences consume news pairs well with Xerox’s commitment to help businesses simplify the way people work,” says Winter in a statement announcing the deal.
According to a press release announcing the NBCU/Xerox partnership, the branded segments will be called “30 Seconds to Know” featuring original video produced by both its news and sports programming networks that will focus on “complicated topics in a quick and simple format.” Basically the native commercials will play off of breaking news headlines for that day, along with topics curated specifically for each viewing audience centered around science, tech, personal finance and consumer.
The new spots are slated to begin airing on Monday of this week on NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, NBCSN and the Golf Channel. Segments will run the gamut, ranging from topics like “Are Black Holes Dangerous?” to “How Should You Analyze Your Golf Round.” The networks will promote the videos using #30SecondsToKnow.
“We were impressed with NBCUniversal’s integrated approach to media sponsorship across their various platforms,” adds Barbara Basney, vice president-global advertising and media at Xerox. “We’re able to ensure brand consistency across the key networks we advertise on most – news and sports. This, coupled with the straightforward concept of ‘30 Seconds to Know’ aligns our company’s business focus on simplifying complexity.”
This move by NBCU isn’t much of a surprise, as the iron wall between editorial and advertising is becoming less and less pronounced. As journalism fully embraces digital formats, advertisers are leaving less and less money on the table for sponsorships and ads, and these new formats breathe new life into an already shaky model.
Broadcast outlets and publishers need to keep their advertisers happy, and if that means creating new avenues and formats for brands to tap into their audiences, so be it. Lines will continue to become blurred and no doubt, it will be interesting to see will happen to the integrity of editorial reporting as brands exert more and more influence over content.