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TV producers pitch in-show integration as media buyers call on industry body to address fragmentation

With the continued rise of streaming and changing viewing habits, industry body ThinkTV has pitched a new cohort of risk-taking, audience pleasing, streaming formats as the new frontier in advertising fodder.

Opportunities to reach niche audiences ever-expanding sea of TV and TV-adjacent content are plentiful. But, according to program producers, it is new innovations in old-fashioned product placement that can hold the biggest opportunity for brands looking to invest in new formats.

Speaking on a panel at ThinkTV’s Revision event on Thursday, Caroline Swift, head of entertainment at Warner Brothers International Television Production, urged advertisers to work directly with producers to find a way to integrate natively into a show for a better return on investment.

“The more that you work with creatives who are making shows that’ll align with your brand’s philosophies or the meaning of life for your client, the closer you can get to it being the old-fashioned integration and the more that you can speak philosophically and integrate scenes and behaviors and characteristics of the cast.”

“I think that there are very creative ways that we can integrate brands these days and they then can actually have a life of their own,” added Sophia Mogford, executive producer of drama and comedy at Paramount ANZ.

L-R: Kim Portrate, Caroline Swift, Sophia Mogford and Philippa Moig 

Business director at Alchemy One, Cara Sayer-Bourne, told Mumbrella she was intrigued by the panel’s conversation, regarding how brands could “get involved and be open to taking risks in order to connect directly with specific audiences”.

“It highlighted that need to ensure authenticity in integrations, and really connecting with content and audiences.”

However, she felt that the overall event could have dug deeper into Total TV and changing TV consumption, as TV Networks adapt to a more fragmented landscape.

“I would’ve loved to just see a bit more digging into how TV networks are shifting their advertising strategies, not just at an individual channel level, but holistically to really drive business outcomes for brands,” she said. “And how are things like streaming, like digital, providing brands with smaller budgets those opportunities to find their niche, to really integrate in a way that broad programming may have previously locked them out of.”

Also speaking to Mumbrella, a media buyer from an independent agency, who chose to remain off the record, echoed Sayer-Bourne’s sentiments, if a little more harshly.

While they did believe integrations would “probably” be very successful for the brands that could afford them, they said the opportunity would likely only be afforded to the biggest brand with the right budget to spend.

Of the event itself, they were much more skeptical, describing it as a “waste of time” that took more than an hour to get to speaking about TV. Like, they had been hoping to learn more about the impacts of fragmentation, and how to work around this.

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