Research shows that TV networks’ content on digital platforms can help drive viewers back to traditional linear TV programming. But such content doesn’t seem to get enough marketing spin for the networks.
Disney-ABC Television has been one of the few -- perhaps only -- TV networks to strike a deal for a pre-roll promotion on Netflix.
these are not your usual promos, but four-second “brand awareness” video promos. One features a mostly static Ellen Pompeo next to the ABC logo, which appears just before the drama she stars in -- “Grey’s Anatomy” -- starts up. A similar promo has Viola Davis of “How to Get Away with Murder” before an episode of that show starts up.
Up until this effort, all TV series episodes on Netflix started immediately after a user selected a show.
Why only this tiny pre-roll thing? Netflix reportedly has been incredibly resistant to any promotional efforts by networks/other content distributors, in keeping with the simplicity of the digital video site.
For years, when TV networks (mostly through their owned TV studios) sold their off-network rerun programs to TV stations and cable networks through syndication, it came with limited labeling of where the show came from. At best viewers got a title card at the end of the episode touting the syndication division’s name or the TV studio's.
But now the environment is changing. TV networks are not only losing some advertising momentum, but the ability to keep viewers around long enough to use their own airwaves to promote their own shows.
While the networks’ own digital video areas do some promotion work -- including Hulu.com for its equity partners, Fox, Walt Disney, and Comcast (NBCUniversal) -- Netflix, the biggest and growing video platform with some 43 million U.S. subscribers, has become a likely place for such promotions.
TV media companies believe ultimately they have the “premium” TV and movie content that all new digital video platforms desire, which provides them with leverage.
Look for those companies to find newer inventive ways to use the programming bargaining chip to gain extra marketing opportunities.