Why branded content on streaming platforms may be the next big thing on next paid media

Season 2 of 'The Good Fight' produced by CBS All Access is hugely entertaining, it's also hugely political. Filled with anti-Trump propaganda, and there is no other way to call it, anti-immigration policy statements as well as arguments for the alt-right way of thinking; it's storytelling with a purpose. And it's happening on a streaming platform.

While 'The Good Fight' may be very focused on a political statement, with the shift of viewing from TV to streaming platforms could long-form storytelling for a brand be the next big thing in paid media?

Aditya Bhat, founder, Business of Ideas and head, Jio Studios believes so. 

PRmoment India caught up with Jio Studio's Bhat for a conversation on trends in branded content.

Bhat points out that in the new ecosystem of content consumption, appointment viewing is what's happening. With this shift, the traditional viewing of ads on TV is a limited option. Therefore, says Bhat, "Talking about your brand in a story is more important today."

Bhat says that appointment watching also means binge-watching on streaming platforms. He believes that this binge-watching could be 10 seconds or 10 hours, giving a lot of scope for marketers to structure storytelling.

Branded Content: Triangle of Delight 

Bhat says that by 2020 the trend of branded content on OTT platforms will strengthen. He opines that content, OTT and brand will form a triangle of delight for the consumer offering good content that will also help platforms make money.

Currently, streaming platforms revenue mostly comes from subscriptions. Bhat says with brands supporting content on OTTs' new genres of programming will also emerge such as interactive TV and user-generated fiction.

Bhat shares an example of interactive TV viewing recently seen for the game show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati, which allowed viewers to play along using the Sonyliv app.

Another format for branded content is the 'Kiska Brand Bajega' on CNBC TV 18 produced by the Business of Ideas ( a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance's Jio Studio) that carries celebrity interviews on marketing trends as well as discussions with C-suite and brand managers in segments on the same episode. For example, recently, the show featured actor Rajkummar Rao and analyses his personal brand as a product with a life cycle as well as interviews from brand managers from Asian Paints.

Transparency of branded content 

Weaving brand content into entertainment raises questions of transparency and disclosure to viewers. Bhat says branded content is entertainment and the audience is intelligent enough to perceive it as such. 

Bhat believes the danger of misleading consumers is more when paid news masquerades as news. Branded content should lie in the entertainment zone. 

Are we then looking at a future of brand-led storytelling with OTT platforms showing the way for a new avenue of branded content? Bhat believes so.

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