Collaborative co-branding: Media Brands’ Response to Digital Disaster

Written by

The Hook Team

Published on

July 18, 2018



Time to read: 3 minutes
Collaborative Co-Branding

It’s no secret that traditional media outlets are under threat – and with many of our clients operating in this space, it’s something that we at Hook Research are thinking about regularly.

The rise of interactive digital platforms is posing a challenge to both television and print media, harming their brand-health and reducing their attractiveness in the eyes of advertisers.

With subscription-based online video services such as Netflix and Amazon soaring in popularity, and the ‘digital duopoly’ of Google and Facebook capturing advertising revenues, is there still a space for traditional media outlets? How have they responded to this challenge?

The answer is collaborative co-branding.

Broadcasters unite to maximise advertising potential

Earlier this year, advertising bosses of ITV, Channel 4 and Sky came together through the ‘Big TV Festival’ to persuade advertisers and agency planners that television is still a leading power in terms of building brands via advertising. Kelly Williams, managing director of commercial at ITV, argues that there is no other medium which is able to reach such a high percentage of 16-24s every week.

However, despite Williams’ assertion, the emerging trend of broadcaster collaboration is clearly a response to a perceived threat.

Take for example Sky and Virgin media’s partnership which would enable advertisers to reach a possible 30 million customers through a combination of Virgin TV and Sky platforms. Their collaboration allows brands to target a wide range consumers within the reliable world of TV advertising.

Collaborative Co-Branding -wide

In a similar fashion, numerous UK newspapers such as The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, i, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun, Daily Mirror, and Daily Star have ventured on a collaborative project, Impact.

Bringing these publications together, Impact lets advertisers block-book the prime advertising positions across each of the newspapers, with a predicted reach of over 21 million people.

These instances reveal the seriousness with which media brands are tackling the threat of online platforms. Collaborative co-branding enables these brands to offer a broader range of advertising potential whilst reaffirming traditional media as the home of regulated advertising. Conversely, Facebook and Google (in this model) are framed as the more risky advertising options, embodying fears about brand safety, viewability and fake news.

Developing alternatives to subscription services

Collaboration is also important for creating comparable platforms to those offered by Netflix and Amazon.

In March, Ofcom CEO Sharon White said that UK Public Service Broadcasters need to start collaborating to contest with ever-expanding online subscription services. In the face of this competition, PSBs need to find new ways of distributing content to attract those younger viewers who are less lightly to watch traditional TV.

Following this, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have committed to a £125 million investment in Freeview over next the five years.

Working with Freeview, they aim to create a new range of online services for viewers to watch live and on-demand programming from all three broadcasters. Jonathan Thompson, chief executive of Freeview operator Digital UK, said that this unity in the television industry is helping “to safeguard free-to-view” and to “reinvent it for a new age of viewing.”

Collaborative Co-Branding is trending on a global scale

Collaborative co-branding isn’t just a UK trend.

In Germany, broadcasters Discovery Networks and the television station ProSieben have united to develop a new subscription package to compete with Netflix. In the US, rival networks Fox, Warner, Turner and NBCU are collaborating to combine data on consumers so advertisers can target content to certain viewers across a larger section of the TV industry.

Evidently, partnership is becoming an increasingly appealing option for traditional media brands who want to keep up with a changing media landscape.

At a time when audiences are fragmenting across different viewing platforms and advertisers are looking to video streaming providers rather than traditional media outlets, collaboration between channels or newspapers seems like an unavoidable necessity – and something that will continue to grow throughout the media environment as we move into the increasingly digital future.

Enjoy this blog? You might also like our blog exploring the ‘Power of Print’ – what benefits does print offer compared with digital? (Spoiler alert: trust is a big deal). When you’re done reading that, be sure to sign up for Hook Research’s monthly newsletter! And while you’re at it, why not follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn as well?


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