Advertiser-Funded Programming: A Potential Paradigm for Television Advertising SIMONE VANG ELISTA

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1 Advertiser-Funded Programming: A Potential Paradigm for Television Advertising SIMONE VANG ELISTA Master of Science Thesis Stockholm, Sweden 2010

2 Advertiser-Funded Programming: A Potential Paradigm for Television Advertising SIMONE VANG ELISTA Master s Thesis in Media Technology (30 ECTS credits) at the Media Management Master Programme Royal Institute of Technology year 2010 Supervisor was Christopher Rosenqvist, SSE Examiner was Nils Enlund TRITA-CSC-E 2010:080 ISRN-KTH/CSC/E--10/080-SE ISSN Royal Institute of Technology School of Computer Science and Communication KTH CSC SE Stockholm, Sweden URL:

3 Advertiser-funded Programming: A Potential Paradigm for Television Advertising Abstract This research seeks to analyze the dynamics behind the production of AFP-advertiser-funded programming by bringing together published literature and industry perspectives of different players in the television and advertising market. The purpose of the research is to create an understanding of the dynamics of advertiser-funded programming as a new business and production model for television advertising, as well as for television program production. Caused by the change in the current television advertising and a fierce competition of the web, AFP can be considered as an effective way for advertisers and TV channels to engage deeply with consumers while providing high quality and relevant television contents. Using two main perspectives, the aim would be to trace suggestions and possible implementations for the production process as well as for the advertising strategy. On one hand, the analysis of the network of actors involved in advertiser-funded programming can help to understand the creation of superior value for the partners within the network as well as for the end consumers. On the other hand, the focus on the creation of engagement and loyalty, through the TV programming, would be useful to clarify the potential powerful of this type of television productions. A qualitative methodology has been chosen and semi-structured interviews have been conducted, as well as business-to-business and consumers marketing theories have been used to explain, support and criticize key characteristics and factors of advertiser-funded programming production. Though it does not deduce any theory, it adds suggestion on how the production can be shaped better. Thus, the partnerships within the network of players assumes a crucial role in order to develop a clear understanding of the goals, as well as to try to standardized the production process in order to be more cost and timing efficient. At the same time a deeper involvement of consumers, using social networks and creating off-air activities, can help to create an engaged and loyal audience, which in turn can make the overall success of the TV program.

4 Advertiser-funded Programming: En potentiell paradigm för TV-reklam Sammanfattning Detta forskningsprojekt analyserar dynamiken bakom produktionen av annonsörfinansierade program (AFP) genom att sammanställa publicerad litteratur och ett industriperspektiv med aktörer inom TV- och reklam- marknaden. Syftet med forskningsprojektet är att skapa en förståelse för dynamiken i annonsörfinansierade program som en ny affär och produktionsmodell för TV-reklam och program produktion. På grund av förändringar i nuvarande TV-reklam och tuff konkurrens från webbaserade tjänster, AFP kan bli sett som en effektiv metod för annonsörer och TV-kanaler att kommunicera med konsumenter och samtidigt tillhandahålla hög kvalité och relevant TV-material. Målet var att spåra förslag och möjliga implementeringar av produktionsprocessen samt av reklamstrategin genom användning av två huvudperspektiv. Å ena sidan, analysen av nätverket av involverade aktörer i annonsörfinansierade program kan öka förståelsen för värdeskapande för partners inom nätverkat samt för slutanvändare. Å andra sidan, fokuset på skapandet av engagemanget och lojaliteten, genom TV program, skulle vara användbart för att klarlägga den möjliga genomslagskraften för den här typen av TV-produktioner. En kvalitativ metodik valdes och semistrukturerade intervjuer har utfärdats. Marknadsföringsteorier mellan företag och mot konsument har använts för att förklara, stödja och kritisera nyckelegenskaper och faktorer hos annonsörfinansierad programproduktion. Även om denna studie inte härleder några teorier så föreslår den hur produktionen kan utformas på ett bättre sätt. Samarbetet mellan aktörer inom nätverket är därför mycket viktigt för att utveckla an klar förståelse av målen samt för att standardisera produktionsprocesser och göra dem mer kostnad och tidseffektiva. Djupare konsumentinvolvering, genom användning av sociala nätverk och externa aktiviteter, kan hjälpa till att skapa en engagerad och lojal publik vilket även leder till ett generellt mer lyckat TV program.

5 Summary 1. Introduction AFP - An Introduction Definition of AFP phenomenon Purposes and success factors Research methodology and process Primary data Secondary data Mini Cases Reliability and validity Source of criticism Theory Choice of theories Business-to-Business theories Business network Functions of business relationships Value Chain and Value-creating Networks Business-to-Consumer theories Choice of media and frequency Television content as the message Attitude Customer Satisfaction, Engagement and Loyalty TV Advertising Current situation Types of traditional TV ads Product placement The traditional business model in TV ads AFP - New type of TV ad, new type of TV show Brief history of advertiser-funded programming AFP's characteristics The main actors involved in AFP The Advertiser... 24

6 4.3.2 The TV Channel The Media Agency The Production Company Type of productions Most popular TV format Beyond the AFP - Strategies The value constellation in AFP Partnership's characteristics Partnership and network's goals The TV show as a spin-off The off-air activities Implications and suggestions for a better network strategy Effectiveness in AFP Content and Engagement Content to increase customer satisfaction and retation The value of qualitative content Engagenment and Brand Experience Emotional connection Experience economy in AFP From the experience to loyalty Implications and suggestions to increase engagement and loyalty in AFP Future prospects and possible drawbacks of AFP Social and educational prospective of AFP Product placement; will it help AFP to grow? Problem of measurement Conclusion Partners' network and value constellation is at the core of AFP Consumers' involvement as a way to increase engagement and loyalty... 58

7 1.Introduction The TV industry is facing, what is called by professionals, the the perfect storm. The storm we are now handling is the digital revolution that has totally changed the media industry, as we used to know it. But, if it is true that after every revolution there is a new beginning, this is already started. In a more fragmented and cluttered TV market the role of advertising is changing and new models of communication with consumers are emerging. Here, the narrow space between entertainment and advertising seems to be the new revolutionary idea, producing television contents and advertising at the same time. 1.1 AFP An Introduction AFP - advertiser-funded programming is one of the most interesting phenomena in the TV and broadcasting industry as well as in the advertising industry today. Also known as branded content or branded entertainment, AFP is a method of television funding that repositions advertisers from just being buyers of advertising spaces around TV programs to instead financing the TV programs themselves, creating strong relationships between brands or companies, broadcasters and production companies in the development of editorial content. Brand entertainment is best defined as where a brand creates consumer entertainment that would not have existed without that brand and where consumers choose their involvement. It is clearly differentiated from product placement, where a brand is placed in someone else s content a film or TV programming. 1 Typically programs have been funded by a broadcaster and they recouped the money through selling advertising space around the content. This has worked fine for decades, but new technological advances and consumers habits have forced broadcasters and advertisers to rethink their relationship. This was caused by a sort of decrease in traditional advertising investments, by a proliferation of niche and tailored television channels, which needs more contents to fill their daily schedule and by new requests, from the advertiser, to engage consumers and also to entertain them. Within the television and media industry the discussion about AFP has been around in the last decade, identifying it as the new interesting model for television and advertising production. Today, advertiser-funded programming seems to be entering a golden age and it is definitely becoming a hot topic in the media business. Both advertisers and broadcasters are trying to design new businesses models and strategies that can be effective in the changing media environment and that will secure future revenues and retain consumers and viewers. 1.2 Definition of AFP phenomenon In the last few years the TV landscape has experienced a surge in the number of TV channels, digital and satellite. Broadcasters started to create what are called family channels, each one tailored to a specific target audience, and niche channels for different subjects and topics. In 1 N. Dawson, M. Hall, That s brand entertainment for World Advertising Research Center February

8 doing so, TV networks are now desperately searching for good content to fill the schedules of thousands of new channels, in order to successfully compete in the market and also to contain the threats from the web and online entertainment. Audience fragmentation makes the competition greater and the quality and success of content is a crucial issue in order to maintain or gain the competitive advantage in the TV market. At the same time, it is well known that, to produce good television content, broadcasters need to invest substantial resources to finance and support the production efforts, funding that can be raised both from subscription fees and from advertisers. Nevertheless, that may not be enough. Figure 01 example of family channels, TV 4, Sweden On the other hand, advertisers and TV networks these days are facing a shift of power in favor of the viewers who have more and more control, as well as choice, in terms of television consumption. There are now multiple distribution ways by which consumers can access content. This gives the consumer much greater freedom and choice. Rather than be told by the media industry what to consume and when, they now have the freedom to access individual products at flexible and tailored prices rather than fixed average prices. Media consumers will increasingly have access to content when they want it, rather than having to wait for the release schedule of the TV channels. 2 Thus, the television schedule is more customizable, liquid and fragmented, and viewers, using personal video recorders (PVR's), such as the famous TiVo, can record and watch TV contents on their own time. In doing so, the classical idea of primetime has been skewed, and the power of the traditional 30-second TV advertising spot has declined. These technologies make it easy to understand how the traditional model of television advertising has become less and less effective in reaching consumers and why advertisers are trying to occupy new positions in the TV schedule. Figure. 02 TiVo s Digital Video Recorder 2 A. Aris, J. Bughin, Managing Media Companies, Wiley,

9 The impact of spot advertising is declining as commercial channels lose audience share, meaning that AFP is increasingly seen as a particular type of sponsorship which can re-engage viewers with brands. 3 To avoid the marginal position that could affect the power of TV advertising campaigns, companies need to locate their brands as close as possible to the attractive editorial content in order not to be skipped over by the viewers. Programs thus acquire a central role for advertisers and so companies need to be more than willing to finance production of programs that support their brands. Douglas Scott, President of Ogilvy Entertainment (USA), one of the most important media-creative agencies specializing in branded content, explained well the current situation during the last Mip TV conference in Cannes with an evocative metaphor: There is really this changing of roles that is taking place in the media business right now which we refer to as the perfect storm : there are three ships in the water that are the consumer, the producer and distributor of the content and there are the brands. Some days the water seems to be more tumultuous then others but really there are pros and cons that are playing into the overall model which is driven by technology. The consumers are becoming more powerful, they can create contents, they can share contents, they can view contents, when, where and how they want. Brands really have a great opportunity to get into the creative side but also into the targeting side, really identifying who they are and what they want to communicate with. For a producer/distributor prospective costs are going up, the audience is going down for the fragmentation of the TV market and the need to continue with the old model of production is very much a process that needs to be innovated. [..] Purpose and success factors With this thesis report the author tries to investigate the whole phenomenon of advertiserfunded programming, considering the different actors involved and using examples from existing and past productions. The most attention will be given to media companies such as broadcasters, media agency and production companies but, at the same time, the crucial and essential role of advertisers will be analyzed in depth in terms of branding and communication strategies. The analysis will follow two main paths. On one hand, a more business-to-business approach will be used, with the purpose to investigate how the network of players, involved in the production of AFP projects, can generate greater value for the actors and for the consumers. The understanding of the ways to manage the network will be helpful to shape a better strategy that will lead hopefully to a more qualitative production. On the other hand, a business-to-consumer focus will be chosen, investigating the effect of loyalty, engagement and commitment that AFP can convey to consumers. Thus, branding and communication strategies effects, especially useful for the advertiser, will be given to media and television professionals in order to provide them with the right framework of knowledge in AFP. Those would be hopefully be suggestions especially important for the whole media industry in order to attract investments and, at the same time, to show advertisers how much value can be delivered to consumers using AFP productions. Having explained the two main goals of this thesis report, the two research questions that have been chosen are: 3 L. Rouse Will branded content work for your brand? in Media Week June MiP TV International Conference, Cannes, France, April

10 1- How can the network and the constellation increase value for the actors involved in AFP? 2- How can engagement and loyalty be created through AFP projects in order to increase its effectiveness? 1.4 Research methodology and process The aim of this research is to investigate which factors are the most important in creating effective and successful advertiser-funded programming, identifying points of difference in the various productions and different strategies of AFP productions. To carry out the intentions of the author and his supervisor, the research on this topic has been done in a span of four months as a journey around and within the main aspects of the topic, exploring the current situation, collecting and analyzing primary and secondary data and suggesting potentially applicable frameworks. Phase 1: In the period from the 1 st of February 2010 to the 15 th of March 2010, the argument of the thesis was developed and general data was collected. In this phase, the literature review was consolidated and contacts with industry respondents established. Phase 2: In the period from the 16 th of March 2010 to the 17 th of April 2010, primary data was collected across the market, professionals were interviewed to determine the perspectives of the various actors to find out what they consider to be the opportunities and the threats in the production of this television products. Phase 3: In the period from the18 th of April 2010 to the 19 th of May 2010, the data collected, through interviews and market analysis, was analyzed and concluded. The research report was written. Phase 4: In the period from the 20 th of May 2010 to the 1 st of June 2010, the report was finalized and was written in all its parts and sections. A presentation has been prepared for discussion. Having traced the main phases of what has been the thesis journey, it is important to outline the main methodology characteristics that I used in order to accomplish the research in a relevant and scientific way. As stated above, qualitative research has been used in order to explore different views within the TV and advertising industries, using interviews with professionals in order to get a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. According to Bryman and Bell (2007) 5 qualitative research must have an epistemological position described as interpretive, meaning that, in contrast to the adoption of a natural scientific model in quantitative research, the stress is on the understanding of the social world through an explanation of the interpretation of that world by its participants. Based on this, my research tried to understand and interpret words and actions of companies, consultants and authors in relation to the theme, as well as use interviews to understand professional perspectives. 5 A. Bryman, E. Bell, Business Research Methods, Oxford University Press,

11 Moreover, based on Bryman and Bell (2007), I utilized a constructivist approach, which states that social phenomena and trends are continually shaped by social actors who are not statistical entities, but are in a constant state of change. As a matter of fact, the concept of AFP cannot be considered a science but more as a market trend in the television and advertising industries, and so it will not present precise theories and methods. At the same time, my wish has been to formalize the current trends within the market and to try to build a reasonable and, in some way, an applicable framework of business implications and suggestions that appeared to be relevant during the investigation of the phenomenon. As regarding my intention of using interviews for the qualitative research, according to Corbetta (2003) 6, a qualitative interview can be defined as a conversation that has the following characteristics: it is elicited by the interviewer, interviewees are selected on the basis of the data-gathering plan, [ ] it is based on a flexible, non-standardized pattern of questioning. Based on this idea, the selection of the respondents has been as broad as possible in order to gain a deeper understanding of the industry s processes and dynamics. The qualitative research strategy helped me to explore, and then understand, different views and approaches in the television and advertising industries to use as a basis for a later interpretation of the entire phenomenon. Finally, based on Corbetta (2003), the qualitative interviews have been semi-structured or unstructured interviews. The interviews had a set of questions but they didn t have any rigid or pre-determined sequences. Any additional and complementary information and issues that were raised during the interviews have been used as findings if relevant to the investigation Primary data Primary data consisted of interviews with professionals conducted in different ways. Based on the time that every interviewee was able to give me, different methods were used in order to be as collaborative as possible with usually very busy professionals. As long as their other commitments permitted it, I conducted face-to-face interviews, phone interviews and even questionnaire-based interviews. The different advantages and disadvantages in those types of interviews were clear; face-to-face interviews allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the arguments touched, observing also body language and facial expression in order to help me gain a better interpretation. Using phone interviews made it more difficult to interact with respondents and thus a less deep understanding was possible. With questionnaire interviews, though, on the one hand the respondents were quite clear and straightforward, explaining concisely the subjects touched in the questions, on the other hand, the lack of debate between interviewer and respondents affected the opportunity to develop more topics and discussions. Regardless of form, after every interview the data gathered was immediately formalized in text, so as to increase the reliability of data and to ensure the inclusion of everything touched upon and discussed during the interviews. The persons interviewed were: Andreas Erenius, Vice President at OTW Media AB production company Lars Bilk, Creative Director at Bond Street Film AB production company Andreas Stenberg, Responsible for Content-related Business at TV4 AB TV network Sebastian Ljung, Head of Commercial Content Program at Kanal5 AB TV network Håkan Gustafsson, Managing Director Carat Nordic AB media agency Mikael Ekelöf, Broadcast Director at Starcomm AB media agency 6 P. Corbetta, Social research: theory, methods and techniques, SAGE Publications Ltd,

12 1.4.2 Secondary data Secondary data are information other researchers have collected, usually also called meta-data. Secondary data are usually, and often, previously gathered together for other purposes, thus it is important to take into account when the data are processed. The majority of the secondary data presented in this report are qualitative, although some quantitative data, such as statistics, records and surveys, are present to a lesser extent. The data collected have been, as much as possible, examined critically because sometimes the authors of the information are several stages behind the original source. The main secondary sources used in this report come from media, such newspapers and trade journals, published literature and various web sites. However, in relation to the subject of the thesis, many sources and information have been collected watching documentaries about the subject and videos in general to understand the characteristics of advertiser-funded programming in depth. Using video sharing web sites (such YouTube) helped the investigation of the whole phenomenon, having the opportunity to watch television formats and programming from all around the world. For this reason a specific session in the bibliography is related to video material used in this report. Moreover, I had the unique chance to follow and watch in streaming mode two interesting and very useful conventions about television, advertising and media in general. Those conferences gave me important insights about the state-of-the-art of the media field and also the opportunity to listen to very interesting speeches from the most relevant and cutting-edge professionals in the industry from all around the world. Conferences: -MipTV, April April 2010, Cannes -Festival of Media, April April 2010, Valencia Contributions from: Charlie Crowe CEO, C Squared (UK), business publishing and information company Douglas Scott President, Ogilvy Entertainment (USA), media-creative agency Robert Friedman media (USA), media-creative agency Catherine Krokos-Leroy, Head of Branded Entertainment, Banijay Entertainment (FR), media and production company Guy Duncan, Head of Creative Excellence Europe, Coca Cola Company (EU), manufacture company Mini Cases In order to have a clearer and as complete as possible picture of the phenomenon, I ve also conducted research based on AFP productions around the world and I summarized it in different mini-cases. It was the starting point of the thesis, having used those examples as a basis of analysis of the entire production and business model. The mini-cases helped me to have a first hand look at how the programming was designed and to understand the different levels of 6

13 involvement of advertisers within the editorial content, which came up as a crucial aspect of the overall phenomenon. The mini-cases have been successively used as examples to show how dynamics between actors were handled and how the message was differently designed in relation to the target audience and the format of the TV show. Moreover, I had the chance to investigate the different off-air activities, how each AFP project was organized and how communications and business strategies were conducted for each program finding similarities and differences between them Reliability and validity As Kirk and Millet (1986) 7 state, a successful data collection should meet two requirements: it shall be (1) valid and (2) reliable. Validity can be divided into internal and external validity. On one hand, the internal validity means that relationships and conclusions should be based on cause-effect relationships. However in this kind of research, identifying success factors of AFP, it is virtually impossible to state that success has cause and effect relationships. It is possible to say with certainty that some general rules will help the final result of the product but, for example, with products that are influenced by trends and emotional implications, it is hard to be totally sure about relationships between input and output. On the other hand, external validity relates to the general results. However, even if it were possible and desirable, the suggestions that will be given as results of this thesis might not be applicable generally to every AFP production. Regarding the reliability of the data collected, this potentially can be affected by what is called the interview effect, that the respondent s answers may be influenced by the interview situation. Moreover, the personal situation of the interviewer can also be affected by the particular situation, presumably new to him, even if the interviewer personally tries to act as professional as possible, staying focused on the discussion as well as taking detailed notes about the responses Source of criticism Since AFP is still an unexplored phenomenon and many debates are still going on around it, it has been difficult to exactly understand where the truth starts and ends when processing the data collected. Many times opinions within the industry differed from person to person, from observer to observer, from player to player and to discern which side maybe the most relevant was not easy. However, having used an inductive method of approach, which uses observations to develop general principles about a specific subject, I ve tried to balance the different positions related to the subject in order to propose the most common perspective. 7 J. Kirk, M. L. Miller, Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research, SAGE Publications,

14 2. THEORY This chapter will present the theories that will be used in the analysis of the advertiserfunded programming phenomenon in order to give the reader the theoretical framework necessary to understand which characteristics have been analyzed and how. It will touch on both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing theories, which have been the two main perspectives of analysis used. 2.1 Choice of theories In order to study the phenomenon of AFP, different marketing theories have been chosen to be able to provide a framework for the analysis as well as to help the investigation to dig deeper into the dynamics behind advertiser-funded programming. It has been decided to investigate the overall AFP phenomenon considering two different perspectives and at the same time, two approaches of marketing theories. On one side, the roles and dynamics between the actors usually involved in advertiser-funded programming will be presented. In order to analyze these relationships between the players business-to-business theories were used to allow a deeper investigation of the characteristics of the relationships. On the other side, in order to investigate the results and to see how to maximize the effectiveness of advertiser funded programming, a range of theories were selected more focused on business-toconsumer marketing, which can be relevant in order to identify which properties an AFP should have to better and more easily meet the consumers requests. However, first of all, it is useful to clarify the concept of marketing in order to have the same frame of reference regarding the subject. According to Armstrong & Kotler (2006) 8 the aim of marketing is to identify and establish, maintain and expand, and if necessary, terminate, relationships with customers and other parties to meet financial and other goals of all parties. This is done by mutual exchange and to meet stated commitments. 2.2 Business-to-Business theories Business-to-business marketing theories are crucial in the investigation of advertiser-funded programming for its essence as an articulated production with many actors involved. Thus, it seems necessary to use an approach that can take into account all the different dynamics and that can provide an efficient framework for the analysis. 8 G. Armstrong, P. Kotler, Marketing an introduction, Pearson Prentice Hall,

15 2.2.1 Business network According to Anderson and Narus (2004) 9, business networks are sets of two or more connected business relationships. Alliance networks go even further and are described as a clique of interrelated and coordinated business relationships formed in order to create new markets and to bring together resources that go beyond the abilities of the single firms. Anderson and Narus (2004) suggest that in order to analyze business networks one uses the ARA model, which takes into account three components: Actors, Resource and Activities. Actors are firms that perform activities and control resources. Activities include transactions and create value through transforming resources. Resources refer to anything that actors explicitly value, such as know-how, personnel, equipment or capital. At the same time, Anderson and Narus (2004) formalize three concepts, helping to analyze the business network. The network horizon refers to how extended an actor s view of the network is. This depends on the actor s experience but also on the structure of the network. The part of the network within the horizon is the actor s network context. The network context is structured in terms of actors, activities, and resources. Contexts are partially shared by network actors, but every actor has its own network context, depending on other characteristics, such as experience. At the same time, within networks the actors develop network identities. The identity refers to how the firms see themselves in the network and how they are seen by other networks actors. Network identity captures the uniqueness of each firm in its set of relationships. It conveys a certain competence in terms of an actor s perceived capability to perform certain activities. Thus, the knowledge about networks and how the actors interact between them will be crucial for the overall investigation and especially for the understanding of how those relationships can help each player and the production, for a more organized and structured procedure Functions of business relationships In order to create a more stable and successful network it is also very important to take into account especially the relationships within the network. According to Håkansson & Johanson (1993) 10 networks are created based on those relationships that then have to be managed. They define business relationships as as exchange relationships between autonomous business units. Based on the analysis of Håkansson & Johansson (1993) it is possible to take under consideration some aspects of those relationships which are relevant to this report. First of all, it is important to consider the function of business relationships in linking the activities of the parties involved to each other. Adaptations of these activities are made for different reasons; for the relationship to even take place, to make rationalizations such as reducing costs, and to create innovations. There are, however some problems with linking activities, such as finding counterparts and activities to adapt to, how to handle these adaptations and not to influence the counterparts in making the right adaptations. Second, it should be remembered that every firm contains a unique set of resources. There are different types of these resources, such as man-power, financial resources etc. The resource, however, can have specific characteristics that can influence the overall relationships. In fact, a 9 J.C. Anderson, J.A. Narus, Business Market Management, Pearson Education, H. Håkansson, J. Johanson, Industrial Functions of Business Relationships, JAI Press,

16 relationship is in itself a resource which takes time and effort to build and it has a value just as long as the two counterparts keep it alive. At the same time, relationships can be seen as a way to control resources. In fact, in developing a relationship, a company gives up some of the control over its own resources in exchange for some control over the counterpart s resources. Finally, relationships are means to developing resources because, related to the learning process, relationships not only facilitate learning, they can be the means to use knowledge without acquiring the knowledge oneself; i.e. the utilization of relationships by employing the knowledge of others without acquiring it. At the end, the Håkansson & Johansson (1993) model of analysis of relationships is a way of summarizing the reasons for and efforts of the parties being directly involved in a relationship as well as the effort required by each to make the relationship succeed Value Chain and Value-creating Networks This report has also analyzed the traditional advertising business model and its flow of production, taking into consideration Porter s value chain model and its successive developments so as to be able to formally describe the process and to highlight how creative production moved from advertiser to consumers/viewers. Porter (1985) 11 designed the value chain in order to describe a chain of activities where the product, passing through different stages, gains some value from the overall process. In our case the product would be the content of the advertising message that, moving through all the stages of advertisement production, increases its value in order to be ready to be shown to consumers. The Porter value chain categorizes broad activities that can occur in any organization. There are the primary activities which include inbound logistics, production operations, outbound logistics, marketing and sales and services. There are support activities which are firm infrastructure, human resource management, technology and procurement. Specifically in this thesis, the theories of value-creating networks, developed by Kothandaram and Wilson (2001) 12, have been used. They have been useful to highlight the different stages in the production of advertising, taking into consideration not just one firm, but the entire network of firms in order to understand where and how the value-adding stages are taking part in the production. Moreover, the concept of value constellation developed by Normann and Ramirez (2001) 13 has been considered in order to allow me to be able to shape the analysis of AFP projects in terms of knowledge and relationships. The idea of value constellation helped me to understand the new strategy of a value-creating system, where different actors work together to co-produce value, integrating knowledge and relationships to gain superior results. In fact as Norman and Ramirez state: the secret of value creation is building a better and better fit between relationships and knowledge. 11 M.E. Porter, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, Free Press Edition, P. Kothandaraman, D.T. Wilson, The Future of Competition: Value-Creating Networks, Industrial Marketing, R. Normann, R. Ramirez, From Value Chain to Value Constellation: Designing Interactive Strategy Harvard Business Review,

17 2.3 Business-to-Consumer theories The other prospective I had to consider in order to analyze the entire AFP phenomenon is the focus on the consumer point of view. The goal is to understand which factors make viewers and customers satisfied and engaged and therefore loyal to any advertiser funded programming. To be able to analyze those factors I had to consider marketing communication theories and branding theories as well Choice of media and frequency Based on most marketing theories, when one is talking about advertising, the choice of media is one of the first things to take into account. There are different factors that influence that choice. First of all, the company or advertiser needs to decide how many persons they want to reach and what percentage of their audience must be exposed to be effective. It is also important to evaluate how many times the message should be repeated and when. According to Best (2009) 14, media selection and message frequency are two ways to design effectively a marketing campaign. In fact, to reach the target customer effectively, the advertiser needs to have a good understanding of the media habits of its customers. Once the right combination of media is found, the question has to move on to how often the company should expose the message to the target audience in order to achieve a certain level of awareness. A balance must be reached. Sometimes, using only a few messages will probably result in a low level of awareness while too many could irritate. According to Best (2009), there are two ways to design a frequency strategy for the message: concentrated frequency, which schedules consecutive messages in a short period of time, and the distributed frequency, which plans long-run exposure of the message. The frequency choice however, depends also on the type of product because if the concentrated frequency would be appropriate for building awareness and comprehension for seasonal product, the same would not be appropriate for an everyday product. The third aspect that Best (2009) recognizes as crucial for building awareness in a marketing strategy is the ad copy. Copy plays a key role in creating awareness, comprehension and intentions, thus advertisers need to understand if the message is received and interpreted by the target customers. In the case of AFP the ad copy is actually the content of the TV programming, which, as we will see, plays an extremely important role Television content as the message First of all, we want to highlight how Best (2009) considers the media industry as a very competitive field with many choices and low switching costs for consumers. That is why consumer retention should be the main goal for the actors in advertiser-funded programming. In order to achieve this goal, AFPs need to satisfy the consumers as much as possible. The first element that will be analyzed to increase satisfaction, is the TV content of AFP as a TV show. What in marketing and advertising is usually called ad copy, for advertiser funded programming, it can be called TV content. Aris and Bughin (2009) 15 describe the content produced for entertainment as a perishable commodity. This is at the heart of every media business, it is something intangible and depends 14 R.J. Best, Market-Based Management, Eastern Economy Edition, A. Annet, J. Bughin, Managing Media Companie, Wiley,

18 on fashion, trend and inspiration. However, if it is a commodity, the TV content is extremely important, especially related to its quality. In relation to the integrity of the content in advertiser-funded programming, Duncan and Moriaty (1997) 16 talk about the goal of marketing to deliver a credible message because this will sell more in terms of consumer appeal. Duncan and Moriarty (1997) also describe how a message can be communicated from difference sources and those sources determine the level of credibility of the message. They point out that the most credible message is the one conveyed by other people, like word-of-mouth, which is extremely powerful in terms of influencing decisions. This is also confirmed by Gronroos (2002) 17 in his communication cycle model that states that the verbal references have a powerful effect on the expectations and the purchases that consumers make. At the same time, in both Duncan and Moriaty (1997) and Calder & Malthouse (2008) 18, it appears clear that talented and famous people promoting a brand or a product, also have an important impact on consumer decision making and increase effectiveness of the message. Thus, in determining the characteristics the content should have, the engagement of the viewers can be increased by what Curry (2004) 19 calls emotional connection Attitude In marketing, attitude is a person s perception in term of whether he likes or dislikes the particular object, product, person, etc. The more positive attitude a person has, the more likely that person is going to buy the product. However attitudes change over time and advertising has to influence attitudes as much and as long as possible. Rossiter & Percy (1997) 20 formalized a grid to analyze the brand attitude for consumers based on the level of involvement with the product which could be high or low, and, based on the motivations towards the specific brand or product, which can be informational consumers want exhaustive information about it, or can be transformational consumers want to have an emotional experience. By studying this combination of factors, advertisers can try to predict or influence future behavior. In advertiser-funded programming and branded entertainment in general this is important in order to design a TV show with the right appeal for the viewers, touching the right emotions Customer Satisfaction, Engagement and Loyalty In order to formalize what characteristics drive emotional connections between consumers and the television message, theories and articles about experience economy will be used. As Pine II & Gilmore (1998) 21 state, experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage to engage individual customers in a way that creates memorable events. Experiences have emerged as the next step on what is called the progression of economic value. Pine II & 16 T. Duncan, S. Moriarity, Driving Brand Value: Using integrated marketing to manage profitable stakeholder relatioships, McGraw-Hill, C. Gronroos, Service Management and Marketing, Wiley, B.J. Calder, E. Malthouse, Media Engagement and Advertising Effectiveness in Kellogg on Advertising and Media, Wiley, A. Curry, The Branding Bubble in The New Medium Television, Interactive Digital Sales, J.R. Rossiter, L. Percy, Advertising, communications and promotion management McGraw-Hill, B.J. Pine II, J.H. Gilmore, Welcome to the Experience Economy, Harvard Business Review,

19 Gilmore (1998) defined what they called the four realms of an experience, where they categorized the four dimensions that create experiences: active participation, passive participation, absorption and immersion. The Calder and Malthouse (2008) 22 analysis about the effect of engagement and experience on an advertising message illustrates the characteristics that advertiser funded programming should have in order to increase consumer loyalty. Consumer loyalty, as Best (2009) 23 states, is the maximum ambition than any company or brand should hope for if they want to retain and increase their consumer base. Best (2009), in fact, assumes that consumer loyalty is already present in customers minds and it is just a matter of how to activate it. One of the ways to activate loyalty is by using involvement, that Best (2009) defines as the level of perceived personal importance and/or interest evoked by stimulus within a situation. The other way indicated by Best is activating commitment defined as the belief that a relationship is worth working on to ensure that it endures. 22 B.J. Calder, E. Malthouse, Media Engagement and Advertising Effectiveness in Kellogg on Advertising and Media, Wiley, R.J. Best, Market-Based Management, Eastern Economy Edition,

20 3. TV Advertising It is essential to analyze TV advertising in general, touching on the different type of TV ads presented in the market and in the television landscape now, in order to have a starting point from where to analyze why AFP could represent, for the entire industry, a new way to interpret both entertaining and television advertising. An overview of traditional television commercial production is relevant to understand the state-of-the-art in the advertising market. 3.1 Current situation Television advertising has always been an important and crucial tool for commercial advertisers and for their marketing efforts. Television has been historically one of the most important media, combining both sight and sound impression that with the right tone and message can be an extremely powerful combination an effective advertising tool. Television has always also been an important part of every marketing mix and the context, where the advertising message is placed, always played a crucial role. In order to put the consumers in the right frame of mind which makes the communication more effective, the decision regarding placement of the advertising message before or after a specific programming is essential in order to influence the viewer perception of the product or brand. This is what Malthouse and Calder (2008) 24 call the effect of the context, considered a crucial fact in designing any advertising campaign in TV. According to Malthouse and Calder (2008) the entertainment content of the television product itself provides experiences for the viewer that may affect the advertising as well as the entire television context where the advertising is placed. Figure. 05 Cost for TV ads slot related to TV show USA chart compiled by Brian Steinberg and Kimberly D. Williams. Having traced briefly some of the background characteristics and effects of TV ads, it is also important to identify and analyze today s TV advertising market. In fact, TV advertising has 24 B.J. Calder, E. Malthouse, Media Engagement and Advertising Effectiveness in Kellogg on Advertising and Media, Wiley,

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