Web content syndicator Studio One has inked a deal with Viacom to provide broadband video content to its 17 soon-to-be-revamped local CBS Web sites. With the new deal, Studio One will considerably bolster the sites' original content offerings by delivering video programming ranging from the family-oriented variety, such as Real Families, Real Fun and Your Baby Today, to technology-focused fare like Digital Living Today.
"The assortment of interactivity that we will be able to provide with this partnership will appeal to all of our users, from new mothers to teenagers, pet lovers to style fanatics," said Jonathan Leess, president/general manager of the Viacom Television Stations Digital Media Group.
The partnership with Viacom represents a continued expansion by the eight-year-old Studio One. Based on newly conducted research, in aggregate, the company's 12 genres of content reach over 55 million Web users, or a whopping 40 percent of the online active audience. Despite the hefty numbers, the company's profile remains low in the Web world. That is likely due to Studio One's decidedly traditional media model. The company publishes content geared for specific advertisers and then licenses the content to a wide variety of sites, much like classic TV syndicators and stations.
In other words, the Studio One name doesn't stand out. "We operate more as an ingredient brand, sort of an 'Intel Inside' for content," explained Studio One founder Andrew Susman. For example, Your Baby Today, which includes tips on infant care, appears on sites like MommySource.com and BabyPlace.com.
Given its audience potential and brand-friendly environment, the network has consistently enjoyed support from several blue-chip advertisers, despite its low profile. In addition to longstanding partners like Your Baby Today sponsor Nestlé, Bridgestone and American Express, the company just signed a deal with DuPont. Susman said that continued audience fragmentation in media along with commercial saturation has only helped.
David Bell, chairman/CEO of Interpublic Group, whose agencies have placed buys with the syndicator, concurs. "All clients want to have branded content in some form," he said. "What's impressive about them is their repeat business. What that says is that it's working."
"What makes it really attractive is that you get an audience that's interested," said Michael Fluck, Bridgestone's advertising and Internet manager. "They are really engaged with a subject matter that is core to our business."
What also works for brand advertisers is the subtle yet powerful "this content brought to you by" feel of Studio One's content. "The advertisers pay for the content in a way that isn't just sticking an ad in the middle of it," said Forrester Research analyst Jim Nail. "That has a very different impact on the consumer."