So on Monday we’ll finally have Bud.tv, a project that has already gone down as a milestone for branded entertainment. It remains to be seen whether it will mark the true return of ambitious marketer-run content channels, a la P&G’s early soap operas, or the moment advertising-as-entertainment jumps the shark.
The content Anheuser-Bush has slated for the channel is alternately low- and high-brow. Short form videos will be contributed by a high-falutin’ passel of Hollywood auteurs, including Kevin Spacey’s production house (Trigger Street) and Damon/Affleck studio LivePlanet. The site will produce some truly interactive content, including a “Finish Our Film” contest, plus predictable slapstick clips and high-concept shows. A story in The Times Magazine has many more details in a profile of the effort, which it calls “sotto voice” marketing.
A-B, which reportedly expects to spend $30 million on Bud.TV in its first year alone, is clearly shooting for a broad spectrum of programming – much of it high-caliber. The question is, will people see it on BUD.TV or on YouTube, and does Bud even care?