The E.W. Scripps Company is expected today to launch an online video destination with content from its HGTV, Food Network, DIY, and Fine Living cable networks. General Motors’ GMC division has signed on as the launch sponsor, and other marketers’ ads are expected to debut later this week.
“What we’re trying to do is address the sophisticated media consumer today in the sense that they don’t necessarily want to look at interruptive ads,” Jeff Meyer, SVP of interactive sales at Scripps, told ClickZ News. “They want quality content that’s going to help them do what they want to do.”
The video site, which will reside at Living.com, features clips of around five minutes in length featuring content from the company’s cable channels. One clip, for example, describes the philosophy behind a Zen garden, while another shows Wolfgang Puck preparing a seared tuna dish. While no ads will appear on these clips at launch, :15 pre-roll ads will eventually be added, with a ratio of one ad for every two videos viewed.
The most groundbreaking aspect of the GMC sponsorship comes in the form of custom-produced informational video content that features pre- and post-roll sponsorship messaging, prominent product placement for GMC and a link where viewers can get more information about the vehicle showcased. A video that explains how to pour concrete, for example, shows a Sierra pick-up hauling equipment that’s used in the project. Another, on installing a ceiling fan, shows one actor taking the ceiling fan box out of an Envoy SUV at the beginning of the segment.
“When we went though the video process we thought, ‘what sort of projects would the GMC owner, or prospective owner, be interested in?” explained Meyer, adding that Scripps also had to coordinate with GMC and its agency, Digitas, to make sure the video content reflected the automaker’s sensibilities. A clip on replacing closet doors, for example, had to show replacement doors that the target audience would be proud of.
Though Scripps custom produced the videos for GMC, Meyer said the company will also use content the advertiser or agency produce themselves. Meyer said the ratio of pure content video to custom-produced sponsored video will always be at least 3:1.
The centerpiece of the GMC sponsorship is a “video showroom” that’s accessible from every page on the site. When users enter, they may choose from a variety of videos — each about two minutes in length — showcasing either an individual model or the GMC brand as a whole.
GMC’s branding appears both at the top right and at the bottom of the Living.com home page. Additionally, the company’s logo, along with its “We are Professional Grade” tagline, appears occasionally when users navigate through categories to access video content. Though other advertisers will appear on the site in the weeks and months to come, Meyer said GMC will continue to have a significant share of voice on the home page for the next year.
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