Sep 30, 2009 at 02:59 PM
written by

Can Brands Truly "Own" Content In Traditional Media Channels?

Yesterday we mentioned a deal between Vizio and Fox Sports Net that will allow the LCD-maker to "executive produce" a new show for Fox Sports Net stations called "Vizio's Profiles."

Vizio's Profiles will provide in-depth looks at professional football's biggest stars in a 30-minute weekly show airing on all Fox Sports Network stations. The first episode, debuting Oct. 2, will profile Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and future episodes will include Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Bears running back Brian Urlacher, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson.

“The proliferation of DVRs is forcing every company to reevaluate how it spends its media dollars,” marketing director at Vizio, Jason Maciel said. “Vizio’s Profiles represents a shift for us to move beyond traditional media buys to the development and ownership of branded content.”

What makes the deal relatively unique is that Vizio will serve as executive producer on a traditional network production and retain full rights to re-air each episode at

"In essence, VIZIO co-owns the show’s content, as opposed to just purchasing spots during someone else’s show," a Vizio statement said.

While "brand-owned" content, first pioneered by The Hire, has cut its teeth online, traditional media channels have largely embraced "brand integration," which can create and enhance existing ad streams. In many cases however, the media partner still retains control over editorial and distribution.

There are many good examples of brand integration in traditional media... take ESPN's Cold Hard Facts for example..

The difference is subtle, but it seems to come down to editorial control and rights ownership.

Product placement and brand integration have set the stage, is "ownership" the next step in the evolution of branded content? More brands want a sense of content ownership that non-traditional media, has traditionally afforded. Has it again come time for traditional media to bend the rules to meet the needs? Will tighter budgets and the lure of additional ad dollars mean traditional media affords more control to brands?

Whether we're talking film, TV or an event property, marketers want to own their piece of a consumer passion, not just be a passive participant.

As sponsorship evolves, rights-owners of every kind must reconsider their position on the correlating values of control and costs.