Branding Still Matters — but Not as Much as Content

NEW YORK — Brands don’t hold the same importance to younger consumers as they did for TV viewers from older generations, panelists said at The Content Show during NYC Television Week.

“The audience is not necessarily as brandcentric,” Dawn Ostroff, president, Condé Nast Entertainment, told moderator and Broadcasting & Cable editor in chief Melissa Grego during “Building Your Core Brand,” a panel at The Content Show. What’s fascinating is what brings them in is really that one piece of content, and then they come in and discover a lot of other things.”

To illustrate her point, Ostroff noted an anecdote that hit close to home. “I’ve had a conversation with my own child where she didn’t even know what one of the major television networks was because she watches everything on her tablet,” she said. “She didn’t know what ABC was.”

Panelist Henry Schleiff, group president of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family Channel and Discovery Fit & Health, emphasized the importance of programming in bringing viewers to a brand.

“There are few people who can really grab you by your lapels and make you pay attention and take your breath away with an incredible beginning in television,” Schleiff said. “What makes you stay past that first five minutes? What keeps you through that spot, which is important to the advertiser?”

Courteney Monroe, National Geographic Channels CEO, talked about the value of Nat Geo’s brand and the need to expand it.

“We’re not trying to blow up that brand,” she said. “I don’t think that would be a smart thing to do because we are known for quality, and that stands for something.”

Schleiff said he sees brand playing a key role for an audience who doesn’t watch programming on traditional TV.

“What we know in the world of random access, and all of the platforms that are available now, is that good storytelling will travel,” Schleiff said.“I think Nielsen, in its only accurate statement, said that the average person has 100 to 120 networks, but they’re still watching eight to 12 networks. If we’re smart about it, we want to be one of those default networks.”

Luke McCord is a contributing editor for Broadcasting & Cable.