TV Data Summit: Turner Experimenting With 5-Minute ‘Origin Stories’ for Advertisers

New York — Attempting to rethink the way it connects advertising with its viewers, Turner Networks is exploring the creation of five-minute-long branded “origin stories” that would run in the middle of a program.

The concept was cooked up by Turner Ignite, the branded content studio set up last year to serve TNT, TBS, CNN and other Turner Networks channels. It was developed in conjunction with an overall focus-group-like effort by Turner Ignite to involve consumers in the development of new advertising models.

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“We’re testing new experiences in general—from live ads to virtual reality,” said Larry Allen, VP of ad product strategy for Turner Ignite, speaking at the TV Data Summit, part of NYC Television Week.

“TV is under siege,” Allen added. “The current model is not working.”

For the initiative, Turner assembled focus groups in two markets. It found nearly a dozen formats that seemed to effectively engage consumers, including some involving pop-up ad placement during shows and others that featured interactive shopping experiences.

“We want to get consumer’s opinions earlier in the development process,” Allen said.

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The origin story concept tested particularly well.

The concept, Allen said, might be effective for, say, a large packaged goods conglomerate that wants to communicate a social position that it stands for.

But part of the research Turner Ignite is concerned with also involves context: “Finding the right vegetable that your kid likes to eat,” said Allen, searching for an analogy.

Timing is everything.

The interactive experiences might work better in morning day parts, for example, than in evening primetime periods, where the viewer wants to lean back.

There are times, Allen noted, “when putting an insurance ad in front of them might not be the best. The audience might be the right match demographically, but they want to sit back and be entertained.”

NYC TV Week continues Thursday with Advanced Advertising and Next TV Summit.

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!