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Creative strategies for increasing revenue from Vice, Mediacorp

2021-09-15. During a session at WAN-IFRA’s recent Digital Media Asia conference, speakers from Vice and Mediacorp discussed their creative strategies for driving higher revenues.

Branded content makes brands more interesting than banner and display ads, said Myki Slonim of Vice Digital. “When it comes to Gen Z and millennials, we know that a brand that has something interesting to say is a brand that’s going to win.”

Slonim, President of Vice Digital APAC & Middle East, launched Canadian-born Vice magazine into the Australian market in 2003.

Initially an underground magazine, Vice has now has a global footprint in more than 30 countries across mobile digital media platforms.

Slonim shared how Vice worked with brands in the digital publishing space.

Close to 80 percent of young people expect brands to align with their values, and to entertain them, Slonim said.

Authenticity is the key to capturing audiences, with 90 percent saying “authenticity is important when choosing a brand. Incidentally, only 5 percent of branded content drives 90 percent of total consumer engagement (Source: Vice Voices, Beckon “Marketing Truth or Marketing Hype,” Nielsen).

Citing the same study that yielded this data, Slonim also said branded content sees 50 percent higher brand lift when aligned with premium publishers.

Covering unique stories

Authenticity means covering unique stories, and immersing audiences in those stories regardless of their format or platform.

“We really talk to young people the way that they talk to each other – honest, smart, funny,” Slonim said. “The more you try to polish things up, the more they end up watering down the realness, so it’s good to leave sort of the rough edges around it.”

In relation, Vice’s methodology in working with brands is to integrate them with what they do best. This refers to showing audiences a world unknown to them, telling stories that no one else can, and championing voices that no one else will.

Key ingredients for the secret sauce

Slonim also shared several of his “secret sauce ingredients.”

Brands should think and act like media companies by entertaining audiences and drawing them in rather than pushing messages out.

It is essential to think of viewers or readers as audiences, instead of consumers or target markets. This means that content has to be “really, really good and stop things in their tracks.”

“The third thing is we try to find (out) what’s the right cultural space or passion point to play in rather than thinking about campaigns,” said Slonim. “This is a two punch, having the creativity, innovation, interests or entertainment factor of the idea, but really twinning it with distribution across all the platforms that are at our disposal.”

Slonim added that assets take time, energy and investment to create, and should be used to the fullest.

Programming should be specific for different platforms such as Instagram, TikTok or YouTube. Instead of trying to draw audiences into a generic customer journey, each platform should carry a unique entertainment experience.

Unique storytelling

Vice’s India team created a video with Godrej Locks, who identified their business problem, “that nobody really pays attention to home safety measures.”

Using their expertise in documentary storytelling, Vice approached the issue from a unique angle and created a story titled “Inside A Robber’s Mind – How to safeguard your home according to ex-robbers.”

The video garnered 3 million views on YouTube, with high engagement rates. It was a good example of working with brands successfully where a story gained traction and was widely shared.

Regardless of product category, there is always an interesting way to tell the story.

Slonim cited Vice’s partnership with Panasonic as an example: it is “the story of a brand and publisher playing to their strengths by coming together with a real cause to democratise filmmaking.”

Vice and Panasonic determined that the entry barrier to filmmaking is extremely high, resulting in untapped talent and untold stories.

Using Panasonic’s Lumix GH5, they addressed the issue and established Vice Film School, a collaboration that nurtures talent from all backgrounds.

This collaboration saw a 34 percent increase in perceptions of Lumix as a camera which supports young filmmakers, 15 percent rise in brand favourability and 14 percent uplift in target audience consideration.

Slonim concluded his presentation by pointing out that this was an example of the power of storytelling, and Vice would continue to find interesting new ways to create “something native to the platforms,” generating impact for both publisher and brand partners.

Helping clients maximise social media presence

Diogo Martins share the creative strategies he has worked on with Bloomr.SG, and how content from their creators are assimilated across both proprietary platforms and third-party platforms.

He specialises in content development, digital marketing, digital business transformation and media development. Martins now leads Bloomr.SG, a multi-million dollar revenue generating social media creative studio that belongs to Mediacorp, Singapore’s free-to-air broadcaster.

Bloomr.SG aims to help clients maximise their social media presence, creating opportunities for meaningful connections with target audiences.

Through strategic partnerships with YouTube and Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA), Bloomr.SG set up a regular content pipeline with local YouTube content creators as a multi-channel network (MCN). This content is then maximised across different media platforms such as MeWatch.

While the MCN business model was a good starting point, it needed to be adapted “specifically for Singapore, and specifically for the type of business that Mediacorp had as a whole.”

The focus was shifted to nurturing creativity and network growth instead of monetising and optimising for top channels.

Content creators have the option of choosing whether they want to be involved in campaigns as well as the ability of  monetising their platforms on their own, thus ensuring their independence.

Producing niche content

Mediacorp identified the need to address a younger audience, and decided to work with content creators from the same age group to produce niche content. They allowed these creators access to their infrastructure and resources, providing mentorship and hosting workshops.

“We decided that we needed to start to groom specific content creators for market driven verticals that would then basically inform the future of how we would invest our time, invest our resources, invest our client’s campaigns,” Martins said.

Bloomr.SG now works with more than 100 channels, where creators produce “anything that ranges from podcasts. They produce live shows, they produce their own blogs, their own lifestyle videos, they produce comedy, infotainment, anything and everything that can grab an audience.”

Types of collaborations include events, sponsorships, product placements, how-tos, vlogs, product reviews, and art.

Mediacorp initially had a different set of clients from that of the new wave of content creators, Martins said. They eventually connected and started to work together, monetising content on social platforms, as well as through sponsorships.

Simple content was produced for specific clients, as well as social media web series that were advertised and distributed across Mediacorp’s networks.

YouTube content was brought across media platforms. Similarly, Mediacorp DJs and celebrities collaborated with the content creators to produce media content that was transferred across social platforms.

Grooming the next social media stars

“The thinking is that by being a part of Bloomr yourself as a content creator, not as someone that’s being groomed to be a celebrity through TV shows, you’re being groomed to be a social media star and a social media content producer,” Martins said.

Additionally, Mediacorp has built their own digital network of content partners to cover regional content production such as music and gaming. To cultivate a Singaporean pool of content creators, the company now works with schools by offering content classes and workshops in local polytechnics and universities.

For example, this year Mediacorp signed a MOU with Singapore Polytechnic for a knowledge transfer, in which Martin’s team developed the program for a year-long subject on creating content for infotainment.

He estimated that four or five episodes would be hosted across Bloomr platforms.

About the writer: Josephine Tay is a Singapore-based editor and producer with a passion for storytelling. Occasionally, she deviates from broadcast to dabble in publishing. She has been a media professional for 20 years.

Image by Kevin Schneider from Pixabay.

Source – https://wan-ifra.org/2021/09/creative-strategies-for-increasing-revenue-from-vice-mediacorp/

Written by – Josephine Tay

Image Credit – Kevin Schneider

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