‘Sponsored Content Marketing’ Is Coming Soon to a TV Near You

We’ve all heard a whole lot about sponsored content/native advertising lately, but the movement is only gaining steam. Now major TV networks and niche channels are joining blogs and traditional print newspapers and magazines in moving toward the “sponsored content” model. Since many argue that content marketing and PR are one and the same, this shift could create even more opportunities for ambitious multimedia firms.

Here’s how it will work: in order to get viewers to actually, you know, watch ads instead of going to the kitchen for some dip or fast-forwarding their TiVos, The Food Network, The Travel Channel and others will partner with brands (and agencies) to create commercial spots and campaigns tied to popular programs and personalities. For example, Stuart Elliot of The New York Times notes that Don Wildman, host of shows like Off Limits and Mysteries at the Museum, created a series of promos for the Land Rover that fit quite nicely with the programs themselves. Here’s one:

As with all such material, the key to success lies in creating spots that feel like natural extensions of the programs themselves rather than the short infomercials they are.

Is this the future of paid content?