Dewar’s Links With Video Blogger

NEW YORK The future of niche Web video advertising might look a lot like the TV advertising’s past, when brands acted as presenting sponsors.

Dewar’s is the latest brand to sign on as a presenting sponsor of a popular video blog. It will sponsor the last week of episodes of Ze Frank’s “The Show,” which features offbeat observations and commentary by Frank, a Brooklyn-based performer. Frank is ending the program this week after a year. Dewar’s will also sponsor “The Show’s” archives.

The deal is the latest struck by New York-based video service Blip.tv that links big-name brands and niche Web video programs in arrangements that echo TV’s early days of programs relying on a presenting sponsor. Blip.tv has also linked up video blogger Amanda Congdon with Dove.

“This is the new model,” said Dina Kaplan, Blip.tv’s chief operating officer. “We’re finding ways for brands to interact with a show’s audience and the show’s creator so they can reach that audience in a much more direct way than is possible in a TV commercial or print ad.”

While a Dewar’s commercial will run at the end of episodes, Frank will also mention the brand in his videos as “The Show’s” sponsor. It was this deep integration that made the deal attractive, said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, Dewar’s interactive agency.

“We want to get involved directly with the content creators,” he said. “Ze’s audience would lambaste him if all he was doing was taking pre-roll ads.”

“The Show” regularly attracts 100,000 views per month, according to Kaplan.

Blip.tv works to get brands integrated in non-obtrusive ways in the content of Web video programs. In one episode of Congdon’s program, for instance, she collaborated with her audience to create a submission to Dove’s make-a-TV-ad competition. It splits ad revenue 50/50 with video creators.

“There’s a lot of content out there that get more people watching than programs on some basic cable channels,” Schafer said. “The trick is [the creators] don’t have an advertising model.”