Brand Implications

This year’s Upfronts and NewFronts set the stage for an industry shift in how and where marketers connect with audiences. The constant theme across presentations was the importance of story-first thinking for studios, platforms, and brands to successfully engage viewers. The platform ecosystem is ever-expanding, and the way we view our favorite shows is changing. However, what remains true is that audiences seek out great stories wherever they’re being shown.

Brands looking to connect with these audiences must engage in and around content with minimal disruptions or risk turning off their core consumers. Networks are responding to consumer expectations by investing in both stories and talent and focusing less on scheduling, as it’s now clearer that consumers watch their favorite content when and how they want.

BEN Takeaways

More Emphasis on Storytelling

Networks and platforms are investing in talent at every level to bring quality, premium content to audiences. Creators are thinking beyond individual shows to build franchises and spinoffs while providing a home where beloved stories can expand to meet consumer demand. Content is king and everything is streaming, so creators are driving their stories to a larger ecosystem that allows consumption wherever audiences are.

Less Emphasis on Scheduling

Recognizing that viewership behavior is changing, networks and platforms are putting less stress on schedule and release timing. We’ve long moved past appointment-viewing TV and even past linear vs. streaming. The fact of the matter is everything is streaming. People can watch the same show various ways, and they can watch it today or six months from now, but they will only watch if there’s a good story. It’s a new world and the audience now dictates when and how content is viewed, not the network.

Get Inside the Content

This year’s NewFronts had one focus: marketers should get inside the content rather than the 30-second spots that surround it. Now more than ever, audiences want the least amount of disruption possible when viewing their content, and research shows that in-content integrations deliver results while improving the viewer experience. With new, groundbreaking innovations like Virtual Product Placement coming to play, integration into the content is proving to be more vital than ever and brands will need to empower the story, not disrupt it.

14.7%

Boost in purchase intent by an early adopter of Amazon’s virtual product placement offering.

This is in addition to the 6.9% lift in favorability from the same client. The research is clear: in-content integrations deliver results!