Apple has struck an exclusive deal with NBCUniversal to let the Comcast subsidiary handle the ad buying in the Apple News app. Publishers using Apple News can continue sell ads against their content by themselves and keep all ad revenue, and starting in January they will also be able to sell ads through NBCUniversal for 70% of the ad revenue. After a slow start, Apple News has now amassed 70 million users largely thanks to a deeper integration with the notifications in iOS 10.
Why Brands Should Care
This deal provides publishers with a new partner to work with to monetize their content on Apple News after the Cupertino-based company retired its iAd network over the summer. A dedicated ad sales team at NBCUniversal should help ramp up the monetization efforts on this News app, offer brands advertisers more ad inventory to reach millions of iOS users.
One significant advantage that in-app ads have over standard web ads is that they are not affected by ad-blockers. At a time when ad blockers and ad-free streaming services are helping millions of viewers avoid ads, brands and publishers need to take proactive measure and experiment with unconventional ad formats, such as branded content and in-app ads, to win back consumer attention.
NBC’s longstanding, late-night mainstay Saturday Night Live (SNL) is reportedly looking to cut down the ads it carries by about 30%. In a move to please viewers and offer them more content, the show plans to remove two commercial breaks per episode. Instead, NBC will offer brand advertisers an opportunity to partner with SNL to create original branded content. There are no further details on how the branded content will be produced or distributed, but NBC does state such brand partnerships will be limited to six spots per year.
What Brands Need To Do
This is not the first time NBC has tried to improve the viewing experience by trading commercials for branded content. Earlier this year, the broadcaster partnered with American Express on Leap Day for an initiative that replaced some primetime ads with additional content sponsored by AmEx. Other TV media owners such as Viacom and Turner have also promised to cut down the number of commercials to appeal to ad-shunning consumers.
As more and more consumers opt for the ad-free experiences enabled by subscription-based streaming services and ad blockers, it is imperative that brands and media owners work together to engage audiences in new ways, such as sponsored content and native ads. For more information on how brands should leverage interesting branded content to earn consumer eyeballs, check out the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016.
Bravo is populating second screens with shoppable content. The NBCUniversal subsidiary launched The Lookbook last week, a microsite with buyable fashion and beauty content tied to the looks featured in its new series The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. The site features click-to-buy episode clips and blog posts about the looks featured in the show, updated weekly as new episodes air.
What Brands Need To Do
87% of consumers now use a second-screen device as they watch TV, according to a recent report from Accenture. And shoppable content provides a great way for media owners and brands to bridge content and commerce. Other media owners and content creators should take a clue from Bravo’s initiatives and build a shoppable second-screen experience for their content as well. And brands need to work with media owners to make sure their products featured in their content are duly included on the second-screen sites and easily shoppable.