Docs

Doc/Fest ’12: Branded television and morality

The morality of program-makers partnering with media companies formed the overlying thread of a discussion about branded television at Sheffield Doc/Fest yesterday (June 14).
June 15, 2012

The morality of program-makers partnering with media companies formed the overlying thread of a discussion about branded television at Sheffield Doc/Fest yesterday (June 14).

Using a survey of Doc/Fest attendees taken ahead of the festival, moderator Alex Connock, director of new business at Shine UK, illustrated that many producers feel that in order for their companies to survive, they must make compromises by working with – and potentially losing editorial control to – corporations.

North One Television’s head of commercial and digital John Nolan, who is currently working on branded projects with Shell and a cross-platform project with an unnamed company, said that brand-funded television and film are a rich part of North One and All3Media’s revenue stream.

But not all relationships between brands and a production companies go smoothly. He cited an example of a brand demanding one of their products be in a program’s scene.

“You have to look at the quality of people in the room,” he advised, adding: “Just because it’s branded, doesn’t mean you have to take away your moral compass.”

Nick Cohen, managing partner and UK head at MediaCom, whose company works with Volkswagen, Universal Pictures and others, had advice for filmmakers going into a branded project.

“The way to do it right is to go to whoever is doing the funding, sit down with them, and talk – so the principles of the producer and the principles of the brand are maintained.”

Cohen also advised that it is worth it for interested producers to ask broadcasters if there is a brief out, since branded partnerships often start with a brand talking to a broadcaster.

However, “most brands like to lead the strategy,” he said.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

Menu

Search