T-Mobile experiments with branded content as it sponsored a “commercial-free break” during Fox Sports’ broadcast of the World Series on Tuesday night. In the middle of the third inning, the network ran an in-game analysis session instead of the usual commercial break. Fox Sports studio host Kevin Burkhardt announced that the break was “brought to you by T-Mobile,” and finished the segment with a live read about the T-Mobile One campaign. A logo for the carrier’s unlimited phone and data plan was also prominently featured on the studio desk as well as on the bottom of the screen during the segment.
What Brands Should Do
This native ad serves as an interesting example of how traditional media companies can incorporate branded content into their existing content. One trend we identified in our Outlook 2016 is that consumers today are getting increasingly annoyed by the constant bombardment of ads and subpar digital ad experiences to the point that many are opting for the ad-free experiences enabled by subscription-based services and ad blockers. Therefore, it is imperative that brands and media owners work together to engage audiences in new ways, such as sponsored content and native ads, in order to earn consumer eyeballs.