Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Media companies competing with agencies for creative assignments?

Media companies have for years offered ad-agency-like services in hopes of stealing a few more of their clients' dollars. But lately some have taken it a step further by creating ads for clients that appear on other media properties. Increasingly, marketers want deep integration with content, and they're finding that the content producers themselves are often the best creative partner, making their threat to agencies more tangible in recent months.

Recently Apple announced an ad channel in which they would be the exclusive production producers until such time that others would produce creative to "their standards".

Consider that Conde Nast last week opened its doors to provide a broader set of creative services for clients, while Hearst Corp. is reported to be near a deal to acquire digital agency iCrossing. (Hearst last week said it doesn't comment on possible transactions.)

Conde's maneuver is particularly aggressive. The company's creative-services unit, CND Studios, will now accept assignments from clients regardless of whether the ads are earmarked for Conde's websites, and, as such, marks a significant shift for the publisher, which in the past has only done creative work for advertisers buying space in one of its publications. Conde produced content for Kenneth Cole's retail site as well as ads that appeared on YouTube and Facebook.

On the local Toronto scene, it has not been uncommon for companies like SunTV or Omni TV to create commercials to be used on their channels. But now creative is being repurposed several times over, onto websites, Youtube channels and more. Creative divergence is definitely the future.

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