Why You Should Invite The Digital Guys ToYour Upfront
Many of the conversations around the Digital Content Newfronts and the television Upfronts have beenframed as a zero sum game: you’re either focused on TV or you’re focused on digital. Too little dialogueacknowledges the symbiotic relationship between the two. Even for TV’s own digital properties, theUpfront deals focus first on locking in broadcast assets, with digital assets designated to “player to benamed later” status, often handled without thoughtful input from experts in that field. Brands wind upbuying ad space on TV without locking in the valuable, complementary assets at the time, thusdiminishing the future negotiating leverage and, more importantly, the creative connection between thetwo.The truth is that a closer collaboration between TV and digital creates more media value for everyoneinvolved – the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. By working together, offline and onlineteams can be more cost efficient with more effective creative. It’s a win-win for consumers, brands, TVnetworks, and content creators. Here’s how:
The first one’s obvious: the consumers – the audience – benefit because they get more quality contentavailable in more places at their convenience. Think about Bravo. The network created digital content thathad critical linear cable storytelling impact for Top Chef. Through the web series Last Chance Kitchen,the network gave eliminated chefs a second chance to come back to Top Chef. These were storylinesthat lived only online throughout the season, but also affected the TV series episodically. And it was donein a way that enhanced the overall consumer experience of the TV content – without devaluing thattraditional experience for those uninterested in the digital content. That said, it took brand funding fromToyota to bring this content to life. Which brings us to:
Don’t just think about display advertising online on series or network websites. Advertisers are better ableto engage a dedicated audience through custom companion content versus adding impressions againstthe same TV audience that they have already paid for. Companion digital content lets brands create adeeper relationship with consumers – a relationship that is more measurable and thus more valuable.The digitization of Fantasy Football is a perfect example – in addition to tremendous reach via broadcast,brands can provide rabid fans all kinds of custom digital content that provides hours of engagement inbetween games. And while the digital side is more measurable than the partner TV buy (again, anotherbenefit for advertisers), both parties work together to form an entire experience, and are most effectivewhen developed together creatively.
Television networks have a great stake in the upfronts, but they too benefit from a closer relationship withdigital partners. As with advertisers, digital content allows the networks to get more and better data abouttheir viewers.