Viacom Media Networks will announce a deal Monday that allows the company to sell premium and custom social content, supporting linear, digital and mobile through an agreement with WhoSay, a platform aimed at supporting celebrities on social and publisher Web sites.
The companies will work to create original content and integrate marketing connected to on-air programming, online destinations, live events, etc. The deal to develop original content around franchises and shows includes programming for Viacom brands MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, Comedy Central and Spike.
Viacom Advertising Sales becomes the exclusive sales force for WhoSay, selling inventory for the site. WhoSay gives Viacom access to more than 1,000 celebrity members generating thousands of visual images and premium content creating more than 1 billion social Likes and tweets on Facebook and Twitter, respectively.
"We had access to social content but really didn't use it as a sales tool," said Scott Saperstein, vice president of business development for Viacom Media Networks. "Now, through the partnership, we're able to use it more as a marketing and sales tool."
For Mother's Day, for example, a brand could tap the WhoSay network for celebrity moms willing to share their parenting experiences by producing custom video content for a brand. Or, if a brand wants to tap into music, Viacom will have an option to tap artists and build a campaign based on social media.
Steve Ellis, CEO for WhoSay, said social media "has become mainstream content." Celebrities creating a piece of content, or existing pieces such as videos and images could range from short- to long-form content on a variety of sites, including the celebrity's WhoSay page.
"Working through the details of this partnership, we used the platform for our CMT Music Awards," Saperstein said. "We isolated several artists and did some really cool stuff on their pages. Not only did we take over all the ad space for the show, but the celebrities guaranteed a certain number of posts, videos and pictures, for several weeks running up to the show. It was the type of exposure you couldn't get anywhere else."
WhoSay had several clients nominated for awards, such as Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire and The Band Perry.
Aside from supporting Viacom, Saperstein said the company looks at the deal as a competitive advantage by having the ability to bring celebrities to the forefront through social media.