Say Goodbye to Primetime Advertising and Say Hello to Integrated Experiences

The key is to connect with a loyal fan base through their favorite shows

“If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle.” —Jim Stengel, former CMO of P&G

In the 1950s, there were just three broadcast networks and everyone flocked to the television set at 8:00 p.m. to watch their favorite program. Marketing was easier back then. 

You knew where the viewers were and could reach them together in one place. However, the advent of cable fragmented the audience and gave rise to the saying: “There’s 500 channels and nothing on.”

Now, streaming has taken over video consumption and there are literally thousands of channels live and on-demand across mobile, laptop and connected TV platforms. The cliché may have evolved to “Everything is on and I don’t know where to find it.” Social media is now the TV Guide. It truly is a jungle out there!  

This has complicated the task for marketers to reach the right person with the right ad at the right time. Time is the new currency with viewers—you earn it and you spend it. It is also difficult to align brands with the right programming across a vast sea of content with varying levels of quality. Context matters as much as audience and reach. An additional challenge is that of the time spent streaming video, 62% is spent on ad-free services like Netflix and Disney+.

In this increasingly dynamic and fragmented ecosystem, driving a consumer through the purchase funnel is one of the biggest challenges for brands. How do you connect with an audience and identify the ad experiences that will lead to action and ultimately make an impact on the customer journey? 

Tap into the power of IP

This year’s upfront negotiations put premium content and streaming video services center stage. It would have been a surprise 15 years ago, when we were all still only streaming from our laptop computers, exiting out of pop-up ads to watch reruns of old TV shows. We are now far along in marketing evolution, beyond just spots and dots and media has changed forever. Audience and context are the two key components of an effective marketing plan.

The connecting point for the consumer and advertiser comes down to intellectual property (IP). In this golden age of streaming, consumers face a paradox of choice—with an excess of content comes the need for viewers to be more intentional with what they watch. In our recent report Welcome to the Age of Intentionalism, we found that 55% of the consumers are more thoughtful about the entertainment they watch and 21% are reevaluating the type of entertainment they are watching.  

When you tap into the power of IP, you are directly connecting with fans. Whether you are a fan of DC Comics, Harry Potter, Friends, Bugs Bunny, Rick and Morty or CNN, viewers will find and follow that content wherever it is distributed. Consumers accept the value-add that advertising offers and feel better about those brands that subsidize their favorite content. Because of this, brands have an opportunity to capture the fandom and leverage it for higher brand metrics and outcomes.

Align your advertising with quality content

The flexibility that viewers have today in a multi-platform world that leans more toward on-demand content means consumers are more mindful about quality than ever before. As consumers get more intentional with their time, brands who interrupt and disrupt their lives are not as favored as those that truly add value.

Audiences want an integrative ad experience where brands reflect the entertainment they are watching. Since the pandemic, consumers have been engaging more in ads that are inspirational and personalized to them than ever before.

Quality content is a marketer’s strongest asset, and in an advertising ecosystem dominated by choice— where consumers are exposed to thousands of ads per day—you have to value the precious time that you have with consumers. When you respect their time, you are taking the first step to winning their trust. 

Although the digital advertising ecosystem has become a jungle—hard to navigate and easy to get lost in—IP is your trusted tour guide that can lead you toward the premium content and the passionate super fans. That combination of high-quality storytelling and a deeply engaged audience lays a path for advertisers to build credibility, authority and loyalty in new and exciting ways.

By connecting with a loyal fan base through their favorite shows, advertisers are taking a direct path toward a targeted audience, potent reach and amplified outcomes.

Here’s to IP becoming the new primetime.

Jean-Paul “JP” Colaco is president of advertising sales at WarnerMedia, responsible for overseeing advertising monetization of WarnerMedia’s vast collection of multi-platform media brands and globally recognized film and television content library.